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Excuses, Excuses

Thursday, August 28, 2014 in Blog > Thursday Thoughts

Time Flies I feel the need to apologize for not keeping up with my blogs. My intention was to write one every week, but that plan fell by the wayside. Why? Oh, lots of reasons – no, make that “excuses.”

Decades ago, I trained to become a door-to-door encyclopedia salesperson. (Yeah, I’m really that old.) I only ever made one pitch before deciding that this was not the career for me. But the $15 spent on the course was an investment that has paid for itself many times over. I learned the difference between a reason and an excuse.

After doing a trial “close,” salespeople expect agreement. However, they must be prepared for a negative response. When they hear a “No,” they need to address the objection and show the prospective purchaser that there really isn’t a concern. Then they do a second trial close. Ditto for a third round. If the client agrees to buy the product, great!  But if not, salespeople know something many prospects don’t.

If the negative response is the same all three times, it’s a reason. If it keeps changing, it’s an excuse.

The wording of a reason might change, but the underlying message is the same. For example, the person might say, “I simply can’t afford it,” “We have some medical expenses coming up that we need to save up for,” and “Now that I’m on maternity leave, finances are tight.” The prospect is being consistent; the money just isn’t there. There is no point in pushing further.

However, suppose the prospect’s comments go like this: “I have to wait until my spouse comes home,” “I’m not sure we’d use it,” and “I don’t know where we’d put it.”

Aha! Now we’re talking excuses. The prospect is grasping at straws trying to make the problem go away. But it won’t.

Now that you know the secret, you can turn it to your advantage. You can tell salespeople why you don’t want what they’re selling. You can turn down requests for your time. And you can start being honest with yourself.

Wait… what?

That’s right. How many times do you make excuses for not doing something? Something such as oh, I don’t know, like, say, decluttering? Be honest. Perhaps these sound familiar:

“It’s not really that big of a problem.”

“I just don’t have the time.”

“I don’t know where to start.”

Hmm… three different objections. I smell excuses. So, as a salesperson, I must address each one in order to sell the solution to myself.

“Not a problem? Then why is it bothering me? Okay, I guess it is a problem. And I know that admitting there is a problem is the first step toward solving it. Yeah, I can do that.”

“No time? I wonder if I could manage five to ten minutes a day. Yeah, I can do that.”

“Where to start? How about something small, such as a drawer? Yeah, I can do that.”

Once you get the ball rolling, you may very well find yourself energized to do a little bit more. The more you accomplish, the better you’ll feel.

Time to stop making excuses and get down to work.


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