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Excuses, Excuses

My territory sucks. My commission structure sucks. My company’s policies suck.

My competitors have a better products and services. My competitors have lower prices. My competitors are too aggressive.

Everybody wants to work with a smaller, boutique firm. Everybody wants to work with a larger national player. Everybody wants to work with a larger, international player.

No one wants to work with a small firm. No one wants to work with a national firm. No one likes big, international conglomerates.

You don’t understand that my situation is different.

My team isn’t good enough to take care of this client. If I sold, we couldn’t deliver. I don’t have the support I need from my inside staff.

I can’t succeed because I am being micromanaged.

No one is buying right now. The economy is too soft. The only people who can make deals right now are lucky.

My sales manager gives the best leads to other salespeople. Inbound marketing isn’t providing me with enough leads. The leads suck. Everybody else got the good leads.

My clients want something different.

No one answers the phone. No one returns my calls. No one returns my voice mail. No one returns my emails. Our sales collateral doesn’t work.

Our marketing doesn’t work.

My sales manager isn’t helping me. My sales manager doesn’t like me. My sales manager has her pets and I am not one of them.

No one believes cold calling works. I shouldn’t have to prospect. Buying has changed.

I could sell if I didn’t have to do all this reporting. I could sell if I didn’t have to update my sales force automation software. I could sell if I had a better laptop. I could sell if I had a smartphone. I could sell if we had a better social media presence.

It isn’t my fault. I work hard. I am trying. You don’t understand. It isn’t my fault. Everybody else is having the same problem. I have always done whatever was askedof me. I am a good and loyal employee.

The Problem with Excuses

We humans have an amazing ability to rationalize. We can take any situation and prove that we aren’t responsible. We can convince ourselves that things that aren’t true are unquestionably and scientifically true.

We bullshit ourselves, and we believe us.

Making excuses means that you believe you have no ability to influence, affect, or impact your own results. It means you believe you are powerless. And then you behave in ways that are consistent with your beliefs.

You believe excuses absolve you of responsibility for your results; they don’t.

The problem with excuses is that you give your focus to things that you believe that you can’t control. You ignore all of the power you have to make a difference, to produce results.

The truth is, there is really one—and only one—thing that you can control: you. You are the only asset you have for producing results, and you can’t excuse that asset away . . . not and produce results or a meaningful life, anyway.

I have taken all of your excuses and captured them here on this page. They are no longer available to you. Now, freed from the excuses that enslaved you, go and make a difference.

If I left off your pet excuse, please add it in the comments below so that we can capture it here and so it can no longer control you or anyone else.


What are your favorite excuses?

Are you really powerless to produce better results?

What are the things you can control? How can you make a difference?

What would you do if you were unable to make an excuse? What if you had to accomplish your mission? What actions would you take?

Your excuse is?

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  • Robert

    The issue here, Anthony is responsibility.  A master salesperson is 100% responsible for everything that happens to him/her, every sale or loss.  I don’t care how tempted you are to dump responsibility on some external, there is no blaming or alibiing.  Don’t do it, you’ll only betray yourself.  It’s your choice of vocation: the call was yours to make; you gave the presentation; if the prospect didn’t buy, it’s because you didn’t close the sale.  If you blame your company, manager, “lousy presentation,” weather, recession, or any of a thousand other lame excuses, you’ll be spouting a lot of nonsense.  The responsibility is always yours.  There are no exceptions to this rule.  Don’t just accept responsibility.  Be responsible.

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      You’re right, Robert, it is all a matter of personal responsibility. Until a person takes responsibility for themselves and their actions, it’s very difficult to make the improvements they need to make. I thought I had all of the major excuses listed, but I forgot “weather.” Weather? Really?

  • Coach

    “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything
    else.”  Ben Franklin

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Old Mr. Franklin called them like he saw them and pulled no punches!

  • Ogy Nikolic

    lol, Anthony, I had a great laugh reading this post :-) Thank you! 

    I think you covered all possible sales excuses pretty well :-)

  • Bruce Sallan

    So true, so funny, so good!

  • adda

    I can’t go see people without a car.

  • Jens

    I think out of the first 6 I hear 4 on a daily basis! Spot on, I will take this to my next meeting with the sales team!

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