Excuses, everyone has them!

posted: Friday, March 16, 2012

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Every person has made an excuse about why something didn’t work or why a decision did not go their way, and salespeople are no different. Making excuses does not make someone a bad salesperson; it makes them like everyone else in the world. We’ve all done it even though we know that excuses are just that--excuses. The below average salesperson will continue to make excuses and blame everything but themselves for poor results. The professional salesperson will put excuses aside and seek solutions to the problems in front of them. Below are a few examples of how two salespeople might react to the same situation.

Situation: A salesperson’s closing ratio is not up to par.
  • Excuse: The economy is so bad; no one is going to buy no matter what I do.
  • Problem solver: How can I improve my closing techniques?

Situation: Customers are not returning after making a purchase.
  • Excuse: If they choose not to come back, there’s nothing I can do.
  • Problem solver: Am I following up in a timely matter? Am I writing thank you notes when appropriate? Am I establishing relationships with my customers, so they want to come back?

These are just a couple of examples of how two salespeople can look at the same situation differently. It’s not the situation that makes it positive or negative; it’s the person’s reaction to it that determines which one it is going to be. If a salesperson views a lack of sales as someone else’s fault, then chances are they won’t last too long. If another salesperson looks at the same problem and says, "What can I do to increase business?" then their chances of success increase dramatically.

In a real life example of excuse versus problem solving, I was in a restaurant a few weeks ago and it was busy, thus the service was terrible. The staff apologized over and over again but the service never improved. Quit apologizing and solve the problem! The manager could have very easily stopped looking around and pitched in and helped the staff. It was busy and it was a Saturday night but if you can’t meet the needs of the customers, then it won’t be busy for very long.

Professional salespeople find solutions to problems; everyone else makes excuses about why they were lousy salespeople.

FINAO - Brad Huisken

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