There are dozens of reasons why salespeople fail. In one company that I owned, I even went so far as to develop an “excuse board” when I inherited a team of salespeople who were notorious for their laziness and keen ability to waste time. I thought it would be a great way to sift through their excuses quickly and build some accountability within a culture where it was desperately lacking — in a fun and light way, of course.
This sales team spent more time coming up with creative reasons as to why they weren’t selling or why they couldn’t go out on an appointment than they did in taking the actions that would generate immediate income for them.
Here’s how the excuse board worked: Every time a salesperson came up with a new excuse, I wrote it on the board. Once the excuse was written on the board and visible for everyone to see, no one could use that particular excuse again. Now that we were tracking their excuses, another useful field in our CRM or sales reports, salespeople were prevented from using an excuse more than once. It also prevented them from coming up with excuses that someone else used.
Unfortunately, I had to end this little experiment after the third, six-foot dry erase board got completely filled up within two weeks time. At that point, I had bigger problems with which to deal with: top grading.
To examine some of the most common reasons why salespeople fail, I’ve made a checklist for you to review. Do any of these behaviors sound familiar?
Salespeople may fail because they:
- Blame others for their mistakes or inability to perform
- Lack the necessary level of persistence
- Do not believe in the product they are selling
- Do not commit to lifelong learning
- Fail to listen and learn from those around them
- Lack understanding of the industry or product knowledge
- Fail to develop the essential attributes or skills required to become a masterful salesperson
- Allow their ego to get in the way of change, as they try to do it their way and play by their rules
- Are out of their comfort zone and fail to adjust
- Cannot cope with change
- Are not committed to creating a better possibility for themselves
- Forget that the objective of selling is to deliver value to each client
- Only care about what’s in it for them and how much money they can make
- Do not demonstrate the level of patience required for meeting the demands of some clients
- Choose to fail and simply give up
- Do not ask for the prospect’s business because they feel they shouldn’t have to
- Do not ask for help (Never invested the time to see what the top producers are doing, how long it took them and the path they took to get there)
- Do not invest the adequate amount of time in their own training, coaching, and development
- Are driven by fear rather than their personal vision and measurable goals, which honor their priorities and force them to have integrity
- Are more driven for results than driven by a proven process — they are results driven vs. process driven
Instead of searching this list for additional excuses that justify mediocre performance, use this as a checklist to uncover the areas where you could continue to improve.
Become fully accountable to your success. Be honest with yourself about where you succeed and thrive as well as where you still need work.
Once you align your sales process around your strengths and values, you can start to develop the additional skills and processes that will result in a well organized and balanced approach that works.
About Keith Rosen, MCC — The Executive Sales Coach