Salespeople need to be selling. Wow! What a brilliant idea. Of course, salespeople need to sell, what else would they be doing if not selling? They are salespeople, right?
Sure, they are but they have also been known, at least some of them, to do anything they can rather than be in front of the customers selling. In my many (too many some might say) years of sales management and sales consulting I have seen and heard every reason under the sun why a salesperson cannot be out selling, some of them, the most creative inventions that I have ever heard.
Here are twenty five great reasons why a salesperson cannot get in front of customers:
- The customers don’t want to see anyone on Monday, they are just getting settled in for the week.
- The customers don’t want to see anyone on Friday, they are wrapping up for the week.
- I can’t go see customers on Friday because that’s when I do my paperwork.
- I can’t see anyone on Monday, because that’s when I write my report for the week.
- Most of my customers have a status meeting on Wednesday so I can’t see them on Wednesday’s.
- If I go out and make sales calls my boards don’t move, so I have to stay here and make sure they are moving all the time, or they’ll be late.
- I have to get ready for the trade show next week, so I’m buried in with that and can’t go out this week.
- I had to go to the trade show last week and even though it was only one day, it was one day to fly there and one day to get back.
- I’m so busy solving quality, engineering, manufacturing problems that I can’t get out on the road. I have to stay here and work on these things or they will not get done.
- I’m so bogged down with this forecasting that I cannot get out and sell.
- I have to stay here because I am expecting a conference call in five hours.
- Here in New England the engineers don’t like to see anyone during the summer months, so I stay away for three months and go back in the fall. (Yes, someone actually told me this once, he was a rep and I cancelled his contract the next day).
- It’s so near to Labor Day that all the buyers are out for one last week’s vacation with their kids before school starts up again.
- I can’t get visit customers in July because companies are taking the entire month off for summer break.
- I can’t visit customers from mid-December to mid-January because of the holidays.
- I cannot get appointments because the Millennials won’t answer their phones.
- No one wants to see me anymore. They are all too busy.
- Everybody is buying online, they would rather do it that way.
- Everybody is going to China (or Korea, Thailand, Vietnam) and they don’t want to see anyone selling for domestic sources
- They only buy from domestic sources, so they don’t want to see anyone representing Asian shops.
- If we don’t have ITAR, NADCAP, AS9100, MIL-P-31032, or whatever it is we don’t have there is no reason for me to call on them.
- Nobody wants to see me because we don’t have a laser dill, direct imaging, blind and buried vias, filled vias or whatever else we don’t have.
- I was there last year, twice. I don’t want to make a pest of myself by badgering them every six months. (This was actually said to me once!)
- They don’t have a receptionist, so I don’t know how to reach anybody.
- I’m too busy getting ready for the sales meeting next week to get in front of customers this week.
And finally, in the spirit of under promising, and over delivering one more, and one of my personal favorites. Not to mention this year’s most popular reason why I can’t visit customers:
26. I cannot get anyone to answer the phone, so I can’t make appointments to see anyone. Those darn millennials just don’t play fair!
And, on and on it goes. I suspect that it’s always been this way with salespeople, the good ones always find a way, Ross Perot for example, broke his annual yearly quota at IBM by the second week of January! A story, I love to tell salespeople when they whine about all of the reasons, they can’t make sales calls. I’m often tempted to order, and hand out plastic bracelets with the initials WWRD? What Would Ross DO? To remind them that a great salesperson will always find a way, no matter the odds.And come to think of it, I bet a great salesperson can make hay in this new environment where everyone else is singing the same “I can’t call on customers” song. Think about that, and think about all the time the customers have on their hands now that most salespeople are just too busy to get out and visit customers. When everyone says that something cannot be done, THERE IS ALWAYS SOME IGNORANT FOOL WHO WILL FIND A WAY TO DO IT. It’s only common sense.