October 29 by Dandrew Cruda

You’ve set yourself up for a very promising meeting with one of your prospects. You’ve put in hours of searching for the right point of contact and trying to get in touch with the right decision maker. Finally, they have agreed to meet with you to learn more about your product.

Even though you may feel like you have this in the bag, the work is far from over. The last thing you want is to ruin your chances with a deal and scaring away your prospect by committing one of these common sales meeting mistakes that will give anyone nightmares.

Here are 6 sales meeting mistakes that you should avoid

1. Showing up unprepared

An easy way to lose a deal from a meeting is to show up unprepared.

Coming prepared may sound like an obvious recommendation, but it is definitely easier said than done. Make sure you have all of the necessary information at hand before stepping foot into the room. This means knowing all of the details of your product inside and out, as well as all possible questions that may come up during the meeting. You should also be cognizant of all of the important details about your prospect. Understand their use case, previous solutions, pain points, and more. Be sure you know what perspective they will be coming from prior to the meeting.

reviewing for sales meeting

What you should do…

Review your slide deck, notes or any other collateral that you think may be helpful. With the vast amount of technological tools that can influence the sales process, it is easier than ever to do extra research – the more you show up to the meeting as a resource, the better you’ll be. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know” but it can easily get frustrating if that’s your response half of the time.

2. Showing up late

Want to find an easier way to lower your chances of closing a sale? Easy. Come to the meeting late.

Saying that you’ll meet at 9:00am sharp, but arriving 10 to 15 minutes late sends the wrong message. Punctuality is an important factor that shows how much you value the other person’s time and how much you appreciate the opportunity to speak with them. Showing up late eliminates that appreciation. You’ve dug yourself into a hole before the meeting even begins in terms of creditability or getting the prospect to like you – let alone purchase what you have to offer.

late to sales meeting

What you should do…

Be cognizant of your past mishaps by being proactive and planning ahead. If you’re an individual who happens to consistently experience bad luck when it comes to being on time, then you need to utilize effective time management skills and do the little things that help you in the long run: sleep early the night before, wake up an hour earlier than necessary, check the status of traffic before heading on the road to know which routes to take, and so on.

3. Overwhelming your prospect with paperwork and collateral

Sure, you can go ahead and bring all of the product data sheets, white papers, and guides to the meeting – just don’t bet on anyone reading them.

too much paperwork is a sales meeting mistake

Marketing collateral is essential, but bringing paperwork to a meeting may not be the most ideal thing to do. Remember, you are there to help answer questions, provide as much information as possible, and help your prospect further understand the value proposition that you offer. The meeting will be filled with discussion and negotiation, so the likelihood of the collateral getting read or thoroughly reviewed are slim.

What you should do…

Provide the paperwork to your prospect after the meeting if they still have questions or would like to have a hard copy of the details you’ve gone over. Another quick option is to simply email them the resources.

4. Losing your poise and arguing

Nothing can kill a potential business relationship faster than arguing with your prospect.

arguing is a sales meeting mistake

At some point during the meeting, both parties may come across a disagreement. Whether it concerns the product, an observation you made about the prospect’s company, or something else you may have said, there will be a time where you will butt heads. This isn’t always the case, but it is likely that tension will rise on at least one occasion during the discussion. Our natural reaction is to be aggressive and stand our ground, resulting in a heated debate. But if you’d like to maintain this professional relationship and most importantly close this deal, then arguing is the last thing
you want to engage in.

What you should do…

Stay calm and ask questions. You are there to be the answer to their problem, not to add more stress. Listen to what they have to say and if there are disagreements on a particular subject, try to understand what perspective your prospect is coming from and why they feel that way. Then you can provide any useful information that may help you later down the road for a sale.

5. Dominating the conversation by talking too much

You’ve probably heard this a million times, yet it is still one of the more common sales mistakes made by reps.

talking too much is a sales meeting mistake

As much as you probably love to hear the sound of your voice and think that everything you have to say is extremely important, keep in mind that not everyone may think so. Sorry, that’s just reality. This includes when your elaborating on your company or talking about the abundance of features your product has to offer. Yes, those things should be covered, but it definitely should not be the bulk of the conversation. Remember, this sales meeting is for your prospect to learn more about how you can solve their problem.

What you should do…

Be an active listener. Honing in on the ability to listen well in sales can go a long way. Do you recall that previous mistake we touched on in regards to not showing up to the meeting late? Well, here is your opportunity to ask the right questions and learn more about the use case, their company, and more. If you’ve realized midway through the meeting that you need more information from your prospect, this is your chance to effectively receive the answers.

6. Failing to ask for the sale

The meeting went well. Your prospect loves your product. You both shake hands and you leave the room… Wrong move.

not asking for sale is a sales meeting mistake

Knowing the right to time to ask for the sale is a specific skill that reps must master throughout their career. Once you’ve come to the conclusion of your sales meeting, it is vital that you leave the room with next steps in mind for both parties, at the very least. In an ideal world, that next step would be to close the deal. Do not be afraid to ask if a deal can be done right there on the spot. You didn’t have a meeting to have a joyful, afternoon conversation and your prospect knows that. So do not think that you are being overly aggressive if you ask for the sale before you leave.

What you should do…

Ask open-ended questions to close out the conversation. Ask questions such as, “How do you feel it went?” or “What are your thoughts at this point?” Keeping these questions open-ended gives you the opportunity to see how effective the meeting went and how persuasive your presentation was. Depending on these answers, you might have the green light to ask for a sale.


Increase your chances of closing the deal by avoiding these six sales meeting mistakes. You’ve put in a large amount of work to get this far, so don’t let any of these silly lapses slow down the sales process, or worse – stop it altogether. Hopefully you’ll follow the suggestions above and will move forward to the contracting process and eventually to product configuration and quoting. Until then, avoid these mistakes and save yourself from the nightmares.


When it comes to closing deals, is your sales process an asset or a liability? Apttus and Adobe partnered on a survey to understand how sales leaders in Fortune 1000 companies are performing in regard to sales effectiveness and process efficiency. The results show many organizations are unaware that the processes they have are lengthening sales cycles and bleeding top-line revenue.


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