Updated March 23 at 12:28am

It’s not failure, it’s failure to do your best

I’m often asked, “Why do salespeople fail?”

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It’s not failure, it’s failure to do your best


I’m often asked, “Why do salespeople fail?”

The answer is: They don’t fail.

They fail to be their best. They fail to do their best. They fail to think their best. And they fail to take the best actions to help them succeed.

There are symptoms that allow either a sales leader or the salesperson to recognize that failure is on its way. Most salespeople blame circumstances rather than take responsibility. Blame is its own form of failure. But that’s a story for another day.

I want to talk about the salesperson who’s out there every day, who’s trying to make his or her quota, who’s trying to achieve their sales plan or hit the numbers that were arbitrarily given to him or her by the boss.

Add to that, that most salespeople are both inadequately trained and inadequately supported. Add to that, that the salesperson is generally half-prepared. They prepare in terms of themselves, but very little in terms of the customer.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “Jeffrey this does not apply to me. I prepare, and I hit my quota, and I’m doing pretty well for myself, if I must say so.” My response to that thought is a challenge to you. After reading this list, self-evaluate your present circumstance related to each symptom – it might give you some insight that can lead to additional income.

Even if you’re hitting your numbers, even if you believe you’re well prepared, here are 11.5 symptoms of why most salespeople hit a wall, and can’t climb above it:

Symptom 1. Your inability to set an initial appointment with the real decision-maker.

Symptom 2. Beyond price, your inability to uncover the real buying motive of the customer.

Symptom 3. Believing that competition forces price reduction.

Symptom 4. Shallow relationships that force both proposals and bidding.

Symptom 5. Poor social media participation that results in low or no personal branding and low or no personal reputation.

Symptom 6. Poor follow-up after the initial meeting or initial sales meeting.

Symptom 7. Long sales cycle based on presentations to low-level decision-makers.

Symptom 8. Prospects going dark or disappearing after the first sales presentation.

Symptom 9. Prospects not returning your phone calls.

Symptom 10. Blaming inside circumstances for the loss of a customer.

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