Brian Cristiano is a top business and success strategist and the creator of BOLD CEO†
You can have the best sales strategies in the world, but they will never be worth anything unless you combine them with action. Unfortunately, I have noticed that many sales professionals take no action because they are constantly making up excuse after excuse.
Despite the fact that these excuses sound like valid truths on paper, they are often untrue scapegoats for action. So I’m sharing four excuses that I’ve seen many salespeople use as a justification for holding back. As a result of making these excuses, they get no results.
1. “It has to be perfect first.”
This is perhaps the most common excuse I’ve seen sellers make. For example, when they put together a new sales process, they tell themselves that it has to be perfect before they can get started.
What I think the salesperson is saying to himself when using this excuse is, “I’m afraid to start and make a move.” They are not afraid to put their best foot forward; they are rather afraid to start.
The truth is, you’re much better off getting things done before things are “perfect” than waiting for them to be perfect, because if you get started right away, you have the opportunity to have more at bats. With more at bats, you have more chances to hit a home run than the person who waits for things to be supposedly perfect before swinging.
Be willing to get started and take risks, even if things aren’t perfect. In the end I found out that this is the seller who wins. The more swings you make, the more opportunities to close deals.
2. “I don’t want to lose the prospect.”
How often do you come to the end of your sales cycle and then suddenly start doubting your ability to close the deal because you think the prospect will object to your price tag? Despite having no hard evidence to believe that, you still decide to lower the price.
While cutting prices will make doing business significantly harder for you, you decide to do it anyway because you tell yourself it’s better to lose some money than to lose the deal completely. Plus, you don’t want to lose the prospect completely, so use that as a reason to sell yourself short.
From my perspective, when you use this excuse, you’re actually showing that you’re not confident in the value you and your product are bringing to the table. Showcasing your low confidence gives prospects a Real reason to reject the deal. Why would they believe in someone who doesn’t believe in themselves? They had no reason to refuse you before, but now they do.
In the event that a prospect doesn’t like your price tag, don’t negotiate right away. Instead, show genuine concern for the prospect and offer flexibility, such as payment plans. If prospects continue to negotiate even after you’ve established your expertise, ask yourself if you’re qualifying them well at all.
3. “I don’t want to look desperate.”
Salespeople often use this excuse while generating sales leads. After making one or two cold calls to a prospect with no response, they stop following up altogether because they think it makes them seem desperate. They believe they look desperate, which makes the prospect see them as unworthy to work with. Plus, they use this excuse as an opportunity to put the phone down and give up.
But when a salesperson uses this excuse, I think he’s actually saying, “I’m afraid the prospect will judge me or think I’m being overbearing.” But until the prospect tells you they think you’re being overbearing, why believe that?
At the end of the day remember that you are there to help out prospects solve their problems, and there’s nothing presumptuous about really wanting to help someone get better. Until the prospect tells you you’re desperate, don’t believe it and don’t use it as an excuse. Instead, stay tuned until you get a response.
4. “The timing is wrong.”
How often do you miss opportunities because you tell yourself the timing isn’t right? For example, maybe it’s the holidays and you tell yourself that your ideal customers are unlikely to check their email, so use it as an excuse not to contact you at all.
More often than not, this excuse is rooted in the fear of starting, as is the excuse for wanting things to be perfect. In my experience, the times that feel the worst to sell are usually the best. For example, around the holiday season, when many companies have to spend the rest of their investment budget for the year. Who says they aren’t looking for effective outlets for that money (ie, looking for people like you)?
There’s no such thing as bad timing, so don’t use it as an excuse to hinder action.
Strategy, processes and expertise mean nothing to sales success without action. When it comes down to it, I believe these excuses are nothing more than scapegoats for action.
In short, don’t let apologies stand between you and sales success.