It’s only a couple of days into the new year and the excuses have probably already started. Excuses always happen. However, I’m suggesting that the next time to use one two things happen:
- A red flag goes up that reminds you that it’s your FEAR that’s chirping in your ear.
- You realize that it’s an opportunity to create a new (and better) STRATEGY.
Here’s my thoughts on excuses–the problems and the solutions:
Nothing is Quite as Frustrating as a Whiner
Excuses are often delivered in a whiny voice. And that voice is always shrill and annoying. So let’s set aside, for just a moment, what it does to your own psyche and think about your audience (your potential customers). Behind the part about being shrill and annoying, it is negative. Have you ever been in a room with someone complaining. Maybe behind someone talking about their life problems in the check-out line in the grocery. Really uncomfortable, right?
No one likes to be in that negative energy. They will exit.
Now, just to dispel any belief that your excuses only happen in private, in your own head. Wrong! They seep into everything you do–your conversations, your phone calls, your blog, and your sales copy.
We need to get rid of the excuse, ASAP! Let’s figure out how to turn it positive.
Resistance is Often Your Problem
I already put it out there, but fear is at the core of every excuse. Excuses are the mind’s natural resistance.
If an excuse pops up its because you are resisting something. Think about your last excuse. Be honest, it was probably only moments ago.
- Did you have an excuse not to go to the gym this morning? Resisting a little hard work.
- Did you have an excuse why you didn’t call a prospect yesterday? Resisting the possibility of rejection.
- Did you have an excuse for not hitting your sales quota? Resisting expected failure or learning.
The trick to beating this resistance is to change the strategy.
- Workout by making it fun or setting more immediate/achievable goals. Walk before you run.
- Change your perspective on rejection. More is better. Record why and tweak the next call.
- Stop working with the big number. Create a system that helps you nail smaller ones, more often.
Rarely Does the Competition Really Beat You
Holy crap this is important to get! Your competition never really beats you.
Do you think that sound ridiculous? Okay, think through this with me. Think about your last sale.
- Did you just list the features?
- Did your customer just line up the options in a comparison table?
- Did you close the deal without any small talk?
- Do you feel like you made a personal connection at some point?
The last question is the moneymaker. They bought you! Not the product, not the feature set.
Logically that leads to only one conclusion: If they didn’t buy you then the competition didn’t beat you. You failed yourself. There was something in your process, your attitude, or your personality that didn’t win.
Learn and adjust. I find this has a lot to do with researching your prospects. Do a little more research on the prospect, helping you can connect earlier. Figure who is important in the decision and find the people/path to their ear.
Don’t ever use the competition as an excuse. It’s too easy and leads to long-term sales paralysis.
Use the loss as a case study. Use the hindsight to create a strategy for the future. What were the early signs of the deal going South? What could have turned the tables in your favor?
Excuses Set You Up for Failure, Every Time!
Excuses are just that–excuses. By nature they give you reasons to be okay with failure. If you’re okay with it, it will become you.
In the immortal words of Vince Lombardi: “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.”
Acknowledgement: This post is inspired by Chris Brogan’s hugely helpful 100 Blog Topics I Hope YOU Write. I recommend you bookmarking this and grabbing a topic the next time you are short of blogging ideas. Even cooler he has started a weekly newsletter that will feed you fresh ideas and writing tips: Blog Topics for You.
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