10 Mistakes You Might Be Making on a Sales Call

Talking to customers on the phone is a valuable tool to have in your arsenal.  This type of contact is also called prospecting calls.

Talking to a potential customer on the phone even just for five minutes can give you more information than multiple emails if you know how to handle those calls properly.

Oftentimes salespeople that are not very skilled in conducting sales calls will screw up the opportunity that phone calls provide for them. For this reason, we have put together a list of the 10 most common mistakes that are made when conducting prospecting calls.

Take a look and see if you are making any of these mistakes.  If you are, correcting those actions can turn around the results that you are getting from doing or saying the wrong things.


1. “How are you doing today?”-  You may think that asking your potential customers how they are doing is being polite but it is actually one of the worst things you can start off the call asking.

The person on the other end of the phone is ultimately a stranger and asking this type of question can put them on the defensive so they either end the call quickly or simply hang up.

2. “Are You Busy?” –  This is a redundant question at best.  Everyone nowadays is busy doing SOMETHING even if it is just watching TV. Asking this question will rarely be met with any other answer than “Yes, I am” which then puts the pressure on you to hurry up and that is if they let you get that far before ending the call or simply hanging up.

Instead of asking if they are busy, try something like this: “I know I must be interrupting your evening, so I will quickly get to the reason I am calling.”  or some variation of that.

Once you’ve told them why you are calling, it can open them up a little where you can ask if this is a good time to talk.  Be prepared for them to say no it ISN’T a good time to talk. That’s okay.  Try to get a better time from them before the call ends and follow up at that precise time.

3. Trying to “Wing it” – It is very important to have a specific and clear goal in mind when you get on a call with a potential car buyer.

Go through the call in your mind along with potential outcomes before you ever say the first word to them on the telephone.

If you are just starting out with phone prospecting practice different scenarios with a manager, friend, or family member so you are prepared to handle a multitude of possible situations. Even those familiar with phone calls can use some refreshers in this area. 

4. Not EVERY prospect is a good fit – Don’t assume that you are a match for every potential car buyer you speak to or that they are a match for you.  It is better to qualify them as quickly as possible on the call so you are not wasting your time or theirs.

Don’t talk about your cars until you find out what their needs and intentions are.  They will appreciate it and so will you.  Once you have gotten them to verbalize that they are indeed actively looking to purchase a car then you can talk about what you can offer them.

5. Sounding robotic or scripted – Many salespeople write out what they want to say before they get on an important call. There is nothing wrong with that at all. It helps you get your thoughts straight and avoid dead space.

You don’t want to sound like you are reading a script though, so make sure that you practice what you want to say so you can be as natural as possible.  Instead of writing out what you’re going to say, word for word, write out a list of points to cover and talk naturally, covering the different points as you get to them.

6. Speed talking – Fast talkers are typically distrusted so make sure that you are not talking to fast when you are on the phone with potential prospects.  This also applies when you are leaving voicemails.

Speak clearly and slowly and leave your phone number twice, once after you introduce yourself and once at the end of the call.

 7. All it takes is one call or email to get the appointment – It takes some time to develop a rapport with potential customers. It’s not wise to expect that it will only take one phone call or email to seal an appointment.

There are some cases where you may be fortunate enough to find a hot buyer and get that appointment right away but it is better to expect that it could take as many as four or five calls or emails (or a combination of both) before they commit.

8. Not knowing anything about your potential buyer before the call –  It’s impossible to know everything about the person you are getting ready to call but it IS possible to know SOME things and you should take the time to learn those things.

If you ask the right questions during any points of contact you will learn some important pieces of information that can give you a better idea of the person you are calling. Remember to be sincere and don’t ask nosey or uncomfortable questions.

 9. Not making time for calls – Phone prospecting is easy to push aside for many reasons.  Many salespeople are afraid of the phone because they automatically associate it with getting hung up on or turned down.

As scary as it can be, it is an excellent resource to use when used properly and you should set aside time every week to dedicate to making those phone calls even if you’re nervous about them.

Putting in the time to perfect your own phone strategy and then sticking to the call times you set will improve your success rate in this area.


10. Not providing a definite call to action – The end result of all of these phone calls and emails is to ask for the next step which is an appointment, and eventually a sale.

Not asking for a clear call to action (i.e. why don’t you come in Saturday at 2:00?) can result in that buyer slipping through your fingers and not setting an appointment at all. Don’t be nervous, don’t be a complete pest, but make sure you ask for the next step clearly.



Solid phone strategies can increase sales and leads so they are important to add to your own marketing efforts.  Take the time to really examine yourself to see if you are making any of these mistakes when you get on the phone with them.  If you are, make the necessary changes to correct those pitfalls and work on increasing the success rate of appointments and ultimately, sales.


If you missed part one of our Phone Strategy Series you can find it Here.

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