Over the past few years we have facilitated hundreds of sales meetings. At that point when we ask salespeople to explain the quotes in their pipeline, we hear some great excuses. It is hard to not interrupt with “wait that’s excuse number 6. I know it well.” That often produces hand wringing, loss of eye contact and heavy breathing. It’s common for a salesperson who hasn’t performed, to offer up excuses for the poor performance.
Just to bring a little humor to your day, here are some we hear most often when salespeople don’t meet their goals. I’ve added the translation for you.
- When you hear: “I’m too busy”
It means: “My organizational skills are so weak that I cannot separate important from urgent, and I don’t have the administrative help I need. I can’t fit in 9 calls a week and so I’m obviously too busy”
- When you hear: “Nobody returns my emails and calls”
It means: “I’ve tried twice, got no response and I haven’t a clue how to make them really want my product. They are obviously too stupid to deal with.”
- When you hear: “Our leads are no good!”
It means: “I don’t have the motivation to find my own leads. It’s easier to blame marketing for not making my life easy and handing me great leads.”
- When you hear: “Our prices are too high compared to the competition”
It means: “I haven’t been able to come up with a better value statement about our products, so it is obviously price.
- When you hear: “My prospect/customer is on vacation”
It means: “I knew he was going to be gone, but I was couldn’t find the time to help him make a decision. Therefore, nothing will happen for a couple of weeks. It’s not my fault!”
- When you hear: “Our sales goals are unrealistic”
It means: “I might achieve these stretch goals if I work smarter, but that’s too much hard work. It is much easier to just blame my sales manager for setting the targets too high”
I bet you have heard some good ones too. Watch for these and others. Don’t accept these excuses more than once. If there really is a systemic problem; fix it! If it’s your salespeople just being lazy, it may be time for a heart to heart conversations with each of the biggest offenders.