These are some of the common myths that people responsible for sales cling to when sales performance is poor.
Excuse One: The economy is in a down turn
Other versions of this are, “our industry is going through a slump”, or “the macro economics of our space have affected performance”. We hear these excuses all the time but there is little truth beneath them. Why is it that Warren Buffett can consistently make money investing in companies across diverse industries even during a depression? Simple, he invests in people not sectors or trends. Smart leaders consistently return results and even capitalize on competitors losses when the economy slumps. It is a red flag that your underlying strategy is broken if your business falters every time the market adjusts or slows down.
Excuse Two: Our sales people are not making enough calls
The quantity vs. quality is the most damaging and ubiquitous argument in sales conversations. For generations we have been led to believe that the input is directly proportional to the output. This myth is perpetuated by popular business themed movies like Glen Gary Glen Ross, Boiler Room and Wall Street. These movies convey the illusion that activity equals performance. The average sales manager perpetuates this myth by ensuring their sales people meet sales quotas for outbound calls or meetings. This is a fruitless exercise that does nothing but irritates your customer base and exhaust good sales people. Generate leads by helping people, introducing people to each other and by looking after your existing customers.
Excuse Three: We need a better sales management tool
Related to excuses about quantity is the excuse about sales tools. Sales people love to blame the tools and tactics they use. Regardless of the technology available there is no tool that can improve sales. Tools are accelerators of momentum not catalysts. Once a powerful strategy has started to produce momentum you can use tools to step up the pace but never for a second think that a sales tool will improve sales on its own.