In the world of sales, success is often attributed to those who take responsibility for their actions, adapt to challenges and actively seek solutions. Conversely, excuses have no place in the realm of high-achieving sales professionals. The difference between making excuses and achieving success lies in one’s mindset and approach to overcoming obstacles. in this Sales Coaching article we’ll explore why it’s far more productive to ask, “how can I?” instead of resorting to excuses.
The excuse culture in sales
Sales is a competitive field where resilience and adaptability are key attributes for success. However, it’s not uncommon to hear salespeople resorting to excuses when facing difficulties. Rather than taking ownership of their circumstances and challenges, they deflect responsibility by listing a litany of reasons for their struggles.
The victim card: easier but ineffective
The victim card, as played by many in sales, is an alluring but ultimately unproductive strategy. It involves shifting blame onto external factors, such as competition, market conditions or company policies. While these factors may indeed pose challenges, it’s essential to recognise that they are not insurmountable obstacles. Saying ‘I would be more successful, but…’ is a self-limiting mindset. It keeps individuals trapped in a cycle of excuses, preventing them from taking the necessary steps to improve and excel. These excuses may include:
• Too many competitors
• Homogeneous products in the market
• Reluctant customers
• High pricing
• Unattainable targets
• Difficulty finding leads
• Aversion to prospecting
• Cold-calling skepticism
• Perceived lack of support
• Unrealistic expectations
While some of these factors may present genuine challenges, successful salespeople do not dwell on them. Instead, they shift their focus towards actionable solutions.
Sales Coaching: Shifting from excuses to action
The fundamental difference between average salespeople and sales gurus lies in their approach to adversity. Sales gurus understand that while they may not control every external factor, they have full control over their own actions and responses. They ask themselves, ‘How can I overcome these challenges?’ and then they take proactive steps to address them.
Here are some principles that set successful sales professionals apart:
1. Focus on what you can control: Rather than fixating on external factors beyond their control, successful salespeople concentrate on their own actions, strategies and improvement areas. If you’re unsure where to start, consider signing up for sales coaching.
2. Adapt and learn: They embrace change and view challenges as opportunities for growth. They continuously seek ways to enhance their skills and knowledge.
3. Positivity and persistence: Sales gurus maintain a positive outlook and persistence in the face of rejection or setbacks. They understand that rejection is part of the job and use it as a learning experience.
4. Seek solutions: Instead of complaining, they actively seek solutions. If they believe that the company should provide better leads, they communicate this need to their superiors or develop their lead generation strategies.
5. Surround themselves with positivity: They avoid negative influences and negative people who reinforce excuses. They seek mentors and peers who inspire and motivate them.
In the world of sales, excuses can be a slippery slope that hinders personal and professional growth. It’s far easier to list reasons why success is elusive, but this approach won’t lead to greater achievement. Instead, adopting a ‘how can I?’ mindset empowers salespeople to take control of their destiny and work toward their goals. By focusing on what they can control and seeking solutions, they not only overcome challenges but also set themselves on the path to continuous improvement and success. In sales, as in life, success is not determined by the hand you are dealt but by how you play your cards. So, ask yourself, ‘How can I?’ and watch your sales career flourish.
“Concern yourself more with accepting responsibility than with assigning blame. Let the possibilities inspire you more than the obstacles discourage you.” – Ralph Marston