Is your sales culture caught up in the habit of making excuses? We've all done it at one time or another, but no matter if you're selling payment processing or organic vegetables, you'll sell less if you make excuses or accept them from your team. Sales is an ongoing effort, one that requires a positive attitude and persistent nature, even when faced with obstacles and rejection. Excuses take time and energy away from making sales and are harmful to your sales team and organization.
Here are four ways excuses kill sales and some tips to stop them.
1. Excuses get in the way of success. Excuses are negative and unproductive. They take the focus off of results and spread blame to other people, circumstances or customers. Successful sales leaders understand that sales is about numbers - the more calls or contacts you make the better the results will be. If you're making excuses, you're not making calls. Use what you learn from the "no, thanks" to produce more "yes, let's do its."
2. Excuses can become a habit. Lies and excuses build up on each other and create their own reality according to a story in Psychology Today. After a while, people start believing their own excuses. Banish excuses from your sales meetings. You'll save time, and wear and tear on the rest of the team, if nothing else.
3. Excuses can hide the real problem. Have you heard these common sales excuses? They often hide the real problem. "No one calls me back." Maybe the message being left is too long, too short, not targeted to the right individual. "Leads are no good." Are you responding quickly enough? In today's sales environment, tomorrow is often too late. "Our pricing is too high." Are you selling the value? Customers want the best value, not necessarily the best price. "I don't have time to follow up on every lead." Suggest new tools such as a smart phone or tablet to help get more done in less time. CRM software such as Salesforce can help manage contacts and follow-up. Analytic software applications and web-based sales proposals are available that can automate clunky processes and provide competitive information.
4. Excuses can be infectious. Sales leaders that accept excuses are setting themselves up for a long battle as other team members take on the same behavior. Why wouldn't they as long as they see it works for another?
As a sales manager (or a sales rep on the way up), don't accept excuses from your team or yourself as this strengthens the likelihood they will continue and takes attention away from the real goal...sales and sales results. Hold your team accountable and they will produce better results for themselves and the organization. Sales is challenging, we all know that. It can also be quite rewarding. Accepting excuses means accepting second rate and second best. In the competitive environment of sales, that's just not good enough.
What tips do you have to reduce sales excuses? Do you have a personal experience of how you overcame your own excuse making?