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5 Mistakes Your Prospects Wish You'd Stop Making

headshot of Hannah Beadling
Hannah Beadling
June 17, 2022
5 things to stop asking prospects for new sales leads

There are plenty of guides out there telling you how to sell, but it’s just as important to learn how not to sell. The last thing you want to do is make a sales prospect uncomfortable. 

Missteps can make a sales prospect uncomfortable, pushing them towards a competitor and losing the deal.

One of the biggest areas where salespeople make a lot of mistakes is with Q&A.

You can easily seem unprepared at best, and an amateur, phonebook salesperson at worst if you ask cliche questions the client has answered 100 times before.

So what are the questions you should avoid?

We did the research, and came up with 5 types of questions your sales prospects really wish you would stop asking:

Related: What is Prospecting

1. Avoid Asking for Easily Accessible Information

Pitfall: “Tell me a little more about your business.”

This question signals a lack of preparation. You should already know the basics about your prospect's business from their website, LinkedIn, or industry publications. Instead, ask targeted questions that show you’ve done your homework and are genuinely interested in their specific challenges.

Example: Before a call with a potential client, you research their latest product launch. Instead of asking general questions, you say, “I saw your new product launch aimed at improving customer experience. Can you share what specific challenges you are facing in scaling this solution?”

2. Skip the Obvious Questions

Pitfall: “Do you want to save money?”

Questions with obvious answers waste valuable time and can annoy your prospect. Instead, every question should aim to uncover deeper insights into the prospect's needs and how your solution can address them.

  • “Do you want to make the process easier?”
  •  “Are you interested in saving money?”
  • “Are you looking to generate more business?” 
  •  “Can I be honest with you?” 

Example: Instead of asking if they want to save money, ask, “What are the most significant operational costs you’re looking to reduce this year, and how do you prioritize these cost-saving measures?”

Related: Power of Discovery Questions for Prospecting

3. Rephrase Decision-Maker Questions

Pitfall: “Are you the decision-maker?”

This question can come off as pushy and may alienate the prospect. It’s likely they wouldn’t be on the call if they had no influence over the decision. Instead, build rapport and understand their role more subtly.

Example: Ask, “Can you tell me about the decision-making process for new solutions in your company and who else is involved?” This shows respect for their role and gathers the necessary information without being blunt.

4. Steer Clear of Vendor Comparison Queries

Pitfall: “Are you looking at other vendors?”

Asking this question directly can create discomfort and pressure. It’s normal for businesses to evaluate multiple options. Trust in your product's value and focus on demonstrating its benefits without prying.

Example: Instead of focusing on competitors, emphasize your unique selling points: “Our solution offers seamless integration with your existing systems, reducing downtime significantly. How important is this feature for you?”

5. Handle Budget Questions Tactfully

Pitfall: “What’s your budget?”

Budget questions can be tricky and might make prospects uncomfortable if asked too early. Allow the prospect to guide the conversation towards pricing.

Example: Offer valuable information first and then say, “I can provide a detailed pricing overview whenever you’re ready. What specific outcomes are you looking to achieve with your investment?” This opens up the budget discussion naturally.

Enhancing Your Sales Approach

Effective questioning is crucial to understanding your customer’s needs and building a strong relationship. Avoiding these common pitfalls can help create a more comfortable and productive dialogue with your prospects.

Example of a Good Question: “What are your top three priorities for the upcoming quarter, and how can our solution support these goals?” This type of question demonstrates your interest in their success and positions you as a partner rather than just a vendor.

We want to clarify that asking questions during the sales cycle is a good thing. It helps you better understand the customer’s needs, wants, and limitations. However, steering clear of the questions listed above will give you the advantage of creating a comfortable space for your client– and this is key to nurturing the relationship. 

Do you agree with our list of questions? What else would you add? Tell us on one of our social media platforms, we want to hear from you!


The key to successful sales lies not just in knowing what to ask but also in understanding what to avoid. By steering clear of these five common pitfalls, you can create a more engaging and respectful conversation with your prospects, ultimately leading to better relationships and higher sales.

Join the Conversation: Do you agree with our list of questions to avoid? What other questions have you found to be ineffective or counterproductive? Share your thoughts on our social media platforms – we’d love to hear from you!

Related: Best Prospecting Software Tools