Steer clear of these five excuses for sales fails

Friday, September 26, 2014, Vol. 38, No. 39

Sales greats have the ability to adapt based on their audience, embrace rejection as an express pass to their next “yes,” and generally have a high degree of emotional intelligence.

But even veteran sales pros can fall into the trappings of excuse making as a way to cope with sales hurdles.

Being aware of these top five sales excuses and how to overcome them can ensure your sales success.

Our prices are too high: There will always be a cheaper competitor, and it’s true that prospects care about price. It is rarely, however, the final factor.

Take price off the table and sell value instead, by helping your prospect focus on what you uniquely deliver that your competitor cannot.

If price is truly your only differentiator, you’re in an order taking vs. sales role.

The economy is bad: It’s true that it may never look like 2007 again, but companies are buying.

Identify and target those companies.

What unique pain does your product or service alleviate?

What are all the ways to identify prospects when they’re facing that pain? Determining those trigger points can create tremendous sales efficiency, ensuring that you’re spending the bulk of your time focused on qualified buyers who aren’t letting the economy interfere with making good business decisions.

No one returns my voice mails: High-level decision makers are inundated with sales and marketing messages.

If your voice mail lacks a compelling reason to return the call (e.g., a clear “what’s in it for them”), it’s not worth the time you invested in leaving it.

Conduct pre-call research to find that compelling reason or connection you can reference to increase your callback rate.

Also, remember the phone is just one of many touch-points in your sales tool belt.

My sales goals aren’t realistic: On the surface, it may seem like it’s impossible to up your game every year, but strong sales reps are in a constant state of self-evaluation and improvement.

With self-improvement comes greater sales efficiency and performance.

It’s all who you know: Relationships make all the difference in the sales profession. So why not get out there, network and allow your relationship-building skills to expand your reach of contacts?

Network enough in your market, and there may rarely be a time when you’re unable to secure a warm introduction to a targeted prospect.

Even the mostly highly skilled sales reps lose sales. It’s how you handle those losses that define you. Recognize what went wrong and how you can improve your game next time, and you’ll separate yourself from the pack.

Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and managing partner of RedRover Sales & Marketing,, with offices in Memphis and Nashville. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (