sales failureWhy do People Fail in Sales?

I’m asked this question a lot by not only salespeople, but also by sales managers and even senior level executives.  It seems as if there are a lot of people who believe the #1 reason people fail is because they can’t close enough sales.

It sounds logical, but I don’t buy it.

The number one reason  people fail in sales is due to their inability to prospect effectively.    If a salesperson prospects properly, then they will not have a problem closing, because they will have spent their time nurturing the type of customer who can buy.

This also is the reason why I don’t buy the argument from salespeople when they say they’re not successful because their pricing is too high.  Again, I say it’s not that their prices are too high; it’s because they may be trying to sell to the wrong type of customer.

When sales managers say their salespeople need training on closing, I always raise the question to inquire about how they prospect.

After a few blank stares back at me, I’m able to cut through the garbage and find out that they really don’t have a prospecting process.   The argument I hear is that prospecting is the responsibility of marketing. Marketing gets the leads and Sales closes the deals.


Effective prospecting is more than an idea. It must be embraced and adhered to at every level of the sales organization.   When I hear salespeople say they spend very little time prospecting — or worse yet, they can’t quickly debrief as to how their sales prospecting process works, then I know they’re in trouble.

What does your prospecting plan look like and more importantly are you following it?

You see, ultimately the real reason salespeople fail is not that they don’t have a prospecting plan. It’s that they don’t follow it.

A saying I use is, “Your ability to close sales is a direct reflection on your ability to prospect.”

Copyright 2014, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.

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