By Amy O’Connor
Let me start by saying that no one is interested in your excuses. No one. Ever. Harsh but true. Management cares about results not excuses.
That is not to say there may occasionally be legitimate reasons (operational or product shortcomings) that contributed to the loss of your sale. These factors have nothing to do with your intentions or behaviors, but excuses are never the correct explanatory response to why you lost a sale.
Data, yes. Facts, yes. Quantifiable explanations, yes. But never excuses.
Here are the top 5 excuses killing your sales career:
1. “If I didn’t have all these other administrative tasks, I would have more time for prospects.”
Sales people don’t typically like, and aren’t typically great at, administrative tasks. We crave the sale, but despise the documentation that goes along with it.
My advice (or more accurately Brian Tracy’s advice), eat that frog! Just do it. Stop griping. Buckle down, get the admin work done, and then move on to the parts of selling you like best.
2. “Our product just wasn’t right for them.”
And that’s possible. Your products and/or services are not right for everyone, but this blanket statement just seems lazy. You can’t simply explain away the loss of a sale by saying ‘we just weren’t right.’
When you lose a sale, be prepared with the specifics of why – why the product wasn’t a fit for them, why they couldn’t afford it or why they didn’t like it. The key here – be specific!
3. “The competition has a lower price/bigger incentives.”
Losing a sale is never about price or incentive. If your buyer can afford to buy your product at a higher price but chooses not to, you don’t have a pricing problem you have a value perception problem.
Focus your sales presentation on proving your value not battling over price.
4. “I don’t get enough traffic/see enough prospects.”
<Insert disparaging comments about the marketing department failing to do their job> Sales people get their energy from interacting with buyers. When long periods of time go by between prospects, sales people tend to get deflated.
But what if driving traffic wasn’t solely marketing’s responsibility? How could you drive some of your own traffic? Get empowered and don’t be a victim on this one.
5. “Buyers just aren’t urgent.”
Careful on this one. You might be getting bested by ‘buyer strategy’ if you believe buyers aren’t urgent. Understand that a buyer’s number one strategy is to appear non-urgent in front of a sales person. Don’t fall for it!
If they are standing in front of you, they’re urgent. Treat every buyer not like they can buy today but like they must buy today. Increase your own urgency and you’ll be surprised by what happens to your conversion rate.
The biggest danger of using excuses is what you’re telling yourself when you use them. You’re saying to yourself: You don’t have any control over the sale. Nothing you do really makes a difference. Essentially, you’re irrelevant and powerless.
This type of negative self-talk will kill more deals than any product flaw or pricing problem.
For the sake of your own mindset, stop with the excuses. Excuses and blame look outward to explain away failure while determination and achievement drive look inward for growth opportunities to achieve ultimate success.
Take your power back and start winning.