This could be a little bit negative, but this is the real thing.

I’ve been dealing with prospecting and helping salespeople for a long time now. Having been around the block, I know these 15 things are holding salespeople back from success.  

Looking at this list should help you know you’re not alone, but even moreso, I hope to show you how each is a false assumption that is holding you back. Once you master it, your results will change.  

I’ll dive into each one of these in the following weeks, so stay tuned.

1. Fear of rejection 

Who doesn’t have this fear…if even just a little? Fear of rejection; I could be told, “No.”

Check here to read the post!

2. Lack of confidence

I’m just not confident in what I’m doing

I’m just not a born salesperson. 

Oh, Mark, you’re known as The Sales Hunter, you must have been born to do this… No, I was not. You can read in my book A Mind for Sales about how I was fired from my first two sales jobs.

Read the blog here.

3. Fear of failure 

Now, that’s worse than rejection because fear of failure is, “I’m going to get out of sales, I’m not cut out to be a salesperson.”

Fear of failure is not a reason to back out of something, you can overcome that. 

via The Office on GIPHY

Start reading about overcoming this obstacle here.

4. Uncertain of what to say, what to do

I need to prospect, but I just don’t know what to do…

By reading this blog you’re already at a great starting point. Be teachable, seek knowledge. Find mentors. Read more here!

Listen to The Sales Hunter Podcast each week for sales strategies and interviews with experts in the field.

Or try
Sales Logic Podcast with myself and Meridith Elliott Powell for great insight into the industry and more tips for sales success. New episodes each Tuesday morning.

5. Lack of belief in prospecting

Oh, prospecting doesn’t workWe just need to do more advertising, or we need to do more marketing, yeah.” 


via CBS on GIPHY

Learn how prospecting puts success in your hands here.

6. Not believing in leads

This just drives me crazy. If I had better leads, I could sell more. False, I think that’s garbage. 

Learn How to Overcome ‘Bad’ Leads here. 

7. Discomfort with cold outreach

Oh, no! I have to call people and they don’t know who I am.

Read Help! I Hate Cold Outreach! here.

8. Uncertain about the value proposition

Okay, this is what we sell, this is how my company says we make a difference, but I don’t believe it. I think it’s a bunch of junk.

Disbelief in the value proposition means you really don’t believe in the product. If you don’t believe in what you sell, why are you working there?

9. Poor training 

Most “training” happening at companies isn’t sales training, it’s just product training disguised as sales training.

Kudos for seeking knowledge and tips from experts on your own here! Whether you’re on my website or my YouTube channel, there are plenty of free insights to help you get trained. 

If you sit around waiting for someone to train you, perhaps you want to be a lousy salesperson.

Learn How to Take Charge of Your Own Prospecting Training.

10. Negative past experiences

This could be last week, last month, last year, but there’s stuff that just harbors in your mind and you can’t get past it.  

What would it look like for you to beat the odds and get past it?


Read 6 Ways to Learn from Your Prospecting Mistakes.

11. Poor time management skills

It’s easy to mismanage our time in sales, whether that be spending too much time with current customers, chasing shiny objects that will never become qualified prospects, or even going down a CRM or research rabbit hole for too long. 

I advocate for a lot of time management strategies, whether that be time blocking, or the 10 a.m. rule. To learn more, see these 7 Tips to Maximize Time for Prospecting, or How to Invest Your Time Effectively to Sell Better.

12. Time spent on existing accounts 

I’d prospect, but my boss and everybody needs me to take care of these accounts. Those are excuses. 

Well, I could do this, but these accounts, you don’t realize how important they are…”

Keep that up and your pipeline could begin to look scary.

Learn How to Balance Prospects & Existing Accounts

13. Failing to have a plan

I don’t really have a plan, so I don’t know what I should do, so I’m not going to do anything. 

There’s only one thing worse than not having a plan, it’s not doing anything at all.

via CBC on GIPHY

Don’t worry, I’ve got 5 Baby Steps to Building a Prospecting Plan.

14. Believing prospecting is someone else’s job

I was working with a company the other day, and the vast majority of salespeople don’t believe in prospecting because they always say, “It’s this department’s job.”

Wrong, it’s everybody’s job to prospect. 

Successful salespeople own it. Learn how to here

15. Low self-esteem

You just don’t believe in yourself enough, and as a result, it hurts. 

It pains me to share such a long list, but remember to check back as we do a deep dive on each of these topics in the coming weeks!

Prospecting Calls Should Never Include a Demo

So when is the right time?

via Kids’ Choice Awards on GIPHY


Listen to Episode 109 now


What’s your agenda on a discovery call?


Mark and Becc Holland discuss questions sellers can ask prospects to identify known and unknown problems.

+how to propel the problem we can solve to a higher position on their priority list. 

Ep. 110 available Thursday 6/22!

Find The Sales Hunter Podcast on your favorite steaming service. 



Copyright 2023, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of A Mind for Sales and High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.

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