It's human nature to make excuses for poor performance, and sales people are definitely not immune from this behavior. Some of these excuses may be grounded in reality, and some are only perceptions, but regardless of their roots, each of these excuses has a remedy. As a sales manager, you can help your sales people to see that excuses get them nowhere, but when they face these challenges, they can overcome them and achieve greater success.
Let's take a look at the top five sales excuses poor sales people are using.
1. We're Not Price Competitive
When a sales person is not making sales, they look around for a reason, and price often comes to mind first. What many sales people don't understand is that being the cheapest doesn't always result in a sale. Most buyers are more concerned with value than with price alone. Value includes not just the price but also features, benefits, and customer service. So if your products and services are not the cheapest on the market, your sales reps can still be successful.
2. The Economy is Sluggish
Every industry faces times when it seems that no one is buying just as every industry sees peak times when sales are easy to come by. The truth is that good sales people find ways to make sales no matter what the economy looks like. After all, people aren't after the products or services you sell; they're after the ways your services and products make their lives easier. Show them that you have the solutions to their problems, and you'll be able to sell no matter what the economy looks like.
3. I'm Not Getting Enough Leads
If you've been hearing this excuse, it's time to start training your sales people on how to get referrals and leads from existing clients, internal colleagues, referral networks, and even from social media. No one likes to feel that their success is at the mercy of someone else, so help your sales people to become self-sufficient when it comes to finding their own leads and you won't be hearing this excuse much longer.
4. The Sales Goals Are Too High
If you have sales people who consistently fail to meet their goals, you might be hearing this sales excuse. One solution to this problem is to encourage sales people to set their own goals independent of any company-assigned goals. When your sales people have set their own goals, they have no one to blame but themselves. But maybe the problem isn't the goals at all. Perhaps your sales people just need some coaching and training to help them to improve their skills and reach their goals.
5. There's No Time for Prospecting
Without prospecting, your sales people will quickly run out of leads and sales appointments, so it's important to plan prospecting on a regular basis. Most often, when sales people use this excuse, the problem isn't that they have too much to do, but rather that they aren't using their time effectively. During your team meetings, teach time management techniques, and follow up with your sales people to make sure they're fitting prospecting in to their schedules at least several times a week, if not every day.
Instead of rolling your eyes when you hear these sales excuses, get to the roots of the problems. With a little guidance and explicit expectations, your sales people can improve their work and feel better about their performance.