We all have that perfect salesperson in our company. “That guy”. The guy that never makes a mistake. Always does things right. His customers love him. He’s the greatest salesperson in the world (just ask him). He closes just about everything he touches. And when he doesn’t, it’s never his fault.
Let’s call this guy Wilbur. Wilbur has been in sales for 20 years. He knows the business. He’s an expert. He’s been with 3 or 4 companies in the same industry over those 20 years. He’ll pump his chest out & tell you he has twenty years of experience (oh yeah, I’ve been around). Upon deeper inspection you’ll find that Wilbur doesn’t have twenty years of experience at all – he has one year of experience twenty times!
Huh? Yep. One year twenty times! Wilbur does things exactly the same way today as he did twenty years ago. He doesn’t take responsibility for anything (except when things are going well). Wilbur points fingers at everyone & everything he can point to when a deal goes south. Wilbur hasn’t learned a new thing since the ‘90s. Wilbur’s a dinosaur & he’s the only one who doesn’t know it.
The biggest problem with this is that Wilbur’s boss is allowing it. Good chance Wilbur’s boss buys into the excuses &, worse yet, makes excuses of her own… the most destructive thing in the world for a sales organization! Unless, of course you want an excuse-making culture.
Let’s take a look at the excuses Wilbur makes & his boss accepts. Put a mental check mark next to the ones you have been guilty of making (& be honest):
- I can’t sell at these prices
- The prospect is just a big jerk
- You know, the industry is down right now
- I can never get in touch with my contact
- They have a great relationship with their current supplier
- She said she had a bad experience with our company & will never buy from us
- She won’t share the budget with me
- The economy stinks, right now
- Customer is “slow” – don’t want to do anything yet
- Customer is too busy – no time to meet
- She’s working remotely – I can’t ever get in touch with her
- Our products are not good enough
- Engineering / lab/ R&D doesn’t get results quickly enough
- Product development takes too long – lost the opportunity
- Customer keeps ignoring me
- Customer keeps postponing trial / demo / test
- We have no experience in this market
- Prospect lacks confidence in our product
- Customer doesn’t want to change
- Can’t get contact info or appointment
- Our lead time policy is worse than competitor
- I can’t ever get to the decision maker
Here’s the bad news, Wilbur… you can tell yourself that all of these excuses are true. You can convince your boss. She can convince ownership & executive management. But, eventually, if you don’t start pointing the finger where it belongs (right between your eyes) you will NEVER be screamingly successful in sales. You will NEVER hit your sales goals. You will NEVER make the income you tell everyone (that will listen) that you think you are worth.
Want more proof? If your favorite pro team always blamed the ref for its losses that team would NEVER win the championship. Hell, they would NEVER be above .500 in the standings. If it’s always the refs fault than it’s never our fault. And, that’s where growth stops!
If it’s always somebody else’s fault you will never grow. You will never learn. You will NEVER maximize your full potential. If you don’t think most of the people in your office know this, then you’re kidding yourself.
Step up & start pointing the finger where it belongs.