How to Remove 27 Sales Impediments

February 5, 2010

Some good coaching for impediments coming from a sales team:

1. I got beat on price (again). That would be your fault. The customer perceived no difference between you and the competition, and no value beyond the product; therefore, “price” was all that mattered.
2. The prospect went with someone else at a higher price. Proof that lowest price doesn’t matter. Value and relationship will win the order AND the profit.
3. I had to bid through a purchasing agent. You were too chicken, or unprepared, to meet with the boss (who, by-the-way, tells the purchasing agent what to do).
4. The buyer won’t decide. You have not created enough of a value proposition to interest the customer enough to act TODAY.
5. I can’t create a sense of urgency. Whose fault is that? Talk to the customer about lost profit and greater productivity INSTEAD of offering to cut your price (like a fool).
6. My product is becoming a commodity. What are you selling? Pigs? Oil? Corn? Those are commodities, Sparky. Your product has value, and it’s up to you to prove it. Besides, your customer didn’t tell you that your product was a commodity, you told yourself so many times that you actually believe it.
7. The competition is beating us by lowering their price. Whenever you get beat on price, it means you were perceived as the same and price was all that mattered.
8. The competition stole one of our big accounts. That’s because they can. Whenever you lose a customer to a lower price, it means you were vulnerable to lose them. Find the REAL REASON before you start losing more of them.
9. The prospect won’t give me an appointment. No, you haven’t established enough rapport or interest to earn one. You’re begging or selling; try engaging and gaining interest with questions about them.
10. The customer lied to me. Usually the lie is about money, or it’s pitting you against a competitor, or both. If you are CERTAIN you know it to be true, confront them with a question, NOT an accusation.
11. I can’t get to the decision maker. That’s because you started your encounter too low. If you find out the decision maker is NOT the person you’re talking to, immediately request a meeting with all three parties and learn the lesson for the next prospect you want to sell.
12. The customer or prospect wouldn’t return my call. Why? Because you gave them no reason to, that’s why. You were just calling to see if the money was ready, and disguised it as a courtesy call. Give them a solid reason and they’ll call you.
13. Our sales cycle is too long. That’s because you’re dealing with influencers, not decision makers. CEO’s decide in two minutes. There’s a clue.
14. My company doesn’t support my sales effort. Meet with your CEO and ask his or her assistance. If you don’t get the meeting or the assistance, find another job.
15. Company policies fight the sales effort. Just make more sales, don’t worry about policies or politics. If the situation is unbearable or untenable, find another job.
16. My company can’t deliver on time. Meet with the CEO and resolve it, NOT production or shipping.
17. My company won’t buy me the tools I need. You have your own money now, buy them yourself.
18. Our training sucks. Meet with the training department. They really want to help, but are sometimes unaware of your day-to-day needs. Make sure they have customized sales training, not generic. And make sure that there are courses on presentation skills, positive attitude, and customer loyalty.
19. Our service sucks. Work in the service department for a few days. Write down all the reasons customers call then, and only then, can you get to best practices.
20. I hate my job. Find out why. Become the BEST salesperson in the company. Then quit. Leave on TOP. If you quit too soon, you’ll go to the next place blaming, instead of bragging.
21. I hate my boss. Previous answer applies.
22. No one in the company likes the sales team. Switch jobs for a day or two. Walk in each other’s shoes, sit in each other’s chairs. Mutual respect will follow.
23. My sales plan (quota, goal) is not realistic. Goals and quotas are set for the “mediocre” level of salesperson.
24. I don’t have time to… Yes you do, you’re just not prioritizing it. Substitute television for pre-call planning.
25. They don’t pay me enough to… Yes they do. You just didn’t understand that YOU have to do things to better yourself.
26. I need balance. If you’re not working out of balance, your checkbook will be. Take a weekend and relax. Then get back to (hard) work.
27. Quit your whining. I just gave you the real-world answers to 27 whines. They basically boil down to this strategy: If you spent as much time selling as you do whining, you’d be a millionaire.

Note: I received this list via e-mail from a senior manager in one of my portfolio companies. It resonated to me, as I have spent a lot of time with sales teams over the years and I have heard each of these many many times over the years. It has been bouncing around e-mail, so I am not sure who to attribute it to. If you know, point it out and I will update this post.

Founder & Partner

As the founder of OpenView, Scott focuses on distinctive business models and products that uniquely address a meaningful market pain point. This includes a broad interest in application and infrastructure companies, and businesses that are addressing the next generation of technology, including SaaS, cloud computing, mobile platforms, storage, networking, IT tools, and development tools.