7 Bad Sales Habits to Break Before 2020

October 2, 2019
7 Bad Sales Habits to Break Before 2020

As you close out the year, you might've noticed that you've developed some not-so-great sales habits.

Yes, it's that dreaded end of year panic! For some it causes deviation from the usual sales process. For others, things like unnecessary discounts crop up to help make deals happen. But we all know this isn't right – your solution is worth the investment.

Before you or your salespeople get in over your head and forgo everything to make those last minute numbers, stay calm. The end of the year isn't a time for panic. It's a time to reflect on your successes and growth as well as opportunities for improvement.

Remember, don't beat yourself up if you've noticed some less-than-desirable habits this past year. Sales is a tough gig that requires lots of multi-tasking and recording. Days jumping from call to meeting to call to demo can result in poor CRM usage and even worse call-logging.

Let's start the new decade on the right foot and be the best sales leaders we can be.

Click on the image below to learn how to build better relationships and improve your life by increasing self-awareness!

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7 Bad Sales Habits to Break Before 2020

1. Doubting Yourself

There's no time for self doubt when you're a sales leader. If you buy into the idea that you're a problem solver that sells solutions to companies that need help, there's no reason to doubt yourself.

Additionally, maybe you doubt yourself about hitting your numbers. The truth is, sales is no longer a numbers game. It's a relationship building game where you need to be the best problem solver you can be.

At Criteria for Success, we actually have a term to sum up the feeling of self-doubt. It's called “Head trash.” Head trash is all the stuff that the little voice in your head spews out to make you feel like you can't do something.

Head trash is common not only for sales people, but for sales leaders as well. In fact, head trash can be felt by your buyers as well!

Learn more about head trash by watching the video below:

2. Gossip

Everyone knows there's no avoiding workplace gossip. People will try to speak to you about others, and you might speak about others to them. While this might make you feel better in the moment, gossip actually hurts your morale in the long term.


Well, contributing to gossip actually means that you're aware of a problem and you're actively choosing to do nothing about it. Let's say there's a team member that is under-performing. Instead of offering to help this team member or bring it up to someone who can help, you make fun.

Then, the paranoia kicks in. If you happily talk about other employees, they probably talk about you, too. Every time you gossip with other coworkers, you're perpetuating a culture that encourages gossip. This is a toxic office culture.

Poor office cultures result in:

  • high turnover
  • poor performance
  • low accountability
  • more moral and motivation.

In 2020, make it a habit to not gossip. In fact, if your work friend tries to gossip you, I encourage you disengage from that type of communication. I bet that not only will you feel better at work, you will probably have a lot less to say to certain people.

Keep in mind that people may react poorly to you not wanting to gossip anymore. Stay strong and keep calm!

Gossip is toxic and ruins work environments. Leave this habit in 2019.

3. Worrying About Yourself

The worst sales teams work in silos. In the new year, work to collaborate amongst sales team members (or even sales teams) to share best practices, ideas, and more.

Collaboration is key for successful selling in todays world. If you think that you have the best ideas about selling your solution, you're wrong.

There is no “right” way to sell. Consult with other team members to see how you can spice up your sales process for 2020.

If you're planning to do an end-of-year planning meeting, take time to share best practices and compile all the information in one place. We recommend housing knowledge like this in a Sales PlayBook.

On the same note, take time out of your day to mentor junior sales reps. You'd be surprised at just how much you learn from doing this. Not only does their fresh perspective help you innovate, going over the basics can show you if there's gaps in your process.

Also, you'll feel fulfilled helping someone else. Who doesn't like that?!

4. Making Excuses

Maybe you didn't hit your quota one quarter this year. Or maybe you didn't land that deal you were excited about. Regardless, don't make excuses for why things didn't happen like you wanted them to.

Take responsibility to understand what went wrong and how you can be prepared should the situation arise again.

In fact, try to put together an accountability triad for the new year. Research shows that groups of three are much more accountable than groups of three. Why? Because humans feel a lot more guilty bailing on meetings when there's more than one person involved!

Get a couple of people and help to keep each other accountable in the new year. If you're accomplishing your goals, there's no need to make excuses!

5. Giving Up

Believe it or not, it takes an average of 8 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. And, after a meeting, 80% of sales require 5 follow up calls – yet the majority of sales reps give up after 1!

In 2020,  make it your goal to not give up on opportunities until you know you've given it everything you've got. And remember, this doesn't mean you need to be pushy! Sometimes, it's just not the right time to buy. Reach out to prospects over time to ensure that you're top of mind should they be ready to make a purchase.

And with this, don't give up on your goals! Use the accountability triad mentioned about to keep yourself aligned to your goals and expectations in 2020.

All in all, this year brought a lot of growth and opportunity, but it's always good to inspect for the bad habits picked up over time. No one is perfect, and there's always room for improvement.

Keep these 5 habits in mind as you plan for the new year with your team members and your company.

Have any other ideas on how to keep bad habits in the past? Let us know in the comments!

And be sure to check out our latest eBook, Assessing the State of Your Business: Start with Sales. Click on the image below to download it today!

Assessing the State of Your Business: Start with Sales


  • Dan Halmar - Reply

    Great stuff! These are applicable to any profession. Thanks for sharing!

    • Rebecca Smith - Reply


      Thank you for your comment–so glad to hear that this post was helpful to you!

      Have a great week,

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