Salespeople Say The Darndest Things

If we only had (whatever it is your company doesn’t have) I could double my forecast. 

Your product is your product, sell what you have, not what you don’t have.

If we only had the spec or qualification we could double our sales, everyone is asking for it now. 

Same as the last excuse. Sell what you have, not what you don’t have.

Once we have a laser drill I am going to bring in a ton of business. 

But you don’t have a laser drill and not only that, you don’t even know why your “customers” need you to have a laser drill.

Here is a hint for sales managers who are tired of constantly hearing these excuses from their salespeople. Make them prove it. Make them back up what they are saying by asking them for a forecast. Ask them to develop an ROI, a return on investment forecast. Tell them to visit their customers, make a list of the customers who are asking for whatever qualification, technology, equipment, service that you don’t have and ask those customers how much business they are going to give your company once you have that missing business link. And this is the important part…when are they going to start placing those orders. In other words, how soon after you have added whatever it was they wanted you to add will the business come in.

Then make sure this is all recorded and reported, and then you make the decision if the ROI will be worth  the investment. Then and only then should you even consider making that investment.

And one more thing. Once you make the decision to invest, make sure that your sales people start pre-selling those customers that drove you to invest in the improvement, keeping them up to date with where you are in terms of rolling out the equipment, qualification, or service.

Now back to the excuses.

I worry about what this economy is going to do to my bookings.

That company over there and that company over here are laying off people like crazy, that is going to affect my bookings, just you wait and see.

Nobody answers their phone anymore. You can’t talk to people. 

Nobody wants to see salespeople anymore, how am I supposed to sell?

These darn millennials don’t use phones and they don’t want meetings, there is no way to get through to them.

The contract manufacturers have no loyalty and no appreciation of value. All they care about is price.

We are no better than anyone else, so we need to go in with the lowest price.

Because of Covid we can’t see anyone so we can’t sell.

Now that I can’t take anybody to lunch, dinner, breakfast, golf course, Hookah lounge, or whatever, I can’t sell anything anymore.

If we don’t have a war somewhere soon all my Milspec business is going to dry up. We need a good war!

These darn customers don’t know anything. We have to start teaching them why they should buy boards from us.

China is eating our lunch. They have killed our industry. No wonder I can’t book anything, no wonder I am not hitting my forecast. 

So, what if those idiots (competitors) won that contract, they bought the business and they can’t even build the product anyway. Just wait and see, the customer is going to come back to us next time. 

Now that is the perfect time to remind your salesperson that hope is not a strategy.

Our knee jerk reaction is to laugh at excuses like these, but they are actually more sad, actually close to pathetic, if you think about it. Sometimes you just can’t win, sometimes you do everything right, your entire team does everything right and in the end for no logical reason you still lose out.

Along those lines, here  is my personal favorite story: “The buyer wants us to quote this board. He said that no one has ever been able to build it and it is critical for their next project. This project is so important that the future of their company is riding in it. I know it’s a tough board: 2 mil lines and spaces, controlled impedance, special materials, and it needs this special thermal coating that no one has successfully been able to work with before. He told me that this board is so important that money is no object.” Fast forward two weeks, your company has put their entire technical team on this project. It has become a great adventure, a challenge and they feel they have found a process to build the board. In fact, on their own dime, they build it and send it to the customer. The customer is delighted. He tells you to go back to your company and quote a hundred of them. You do that. You hand carry the quote to the buyer anticipating a victorious homecoming with the order I hand. Instead,  you come home empty handed. Guess what? The buyer tells you that your price is too high! Compared to what? Nobody else can build it? The price is too high compared to what? To whom? What happened to the future of the company depending on this board? 

 Alas such is the life of a salesperson It’s only common sense