Last time, I provided a cross-section of excuses for poor sales performance. Though they are general sales excuses, they can be adapted to, and are very applicable to, sponsorship sales.
This week, I complete the baker's dozen of excuses that you will never hear from a great salesperson. As Todd Hockenberry noted in his list, "It is easy to allow your attitude to lapse into self-fulfilling negativity when you are a salesperson-after all there is a lot of rejection, difficult people, unreasonable customers, and other potentially challenging situations that you have to deal with." He goes on to say, "If you ever find yourself using any of these excuses it is time for a healthy injection of positive attitude because after all, these excuses are all comments made that reflect the salesperson's attitude."
Here are excuses seven through thirteen!
7. Quite often during "slumps," I hear a salesperson say, "No one is buying now." My read on this is that the salesperson has failed to create urgency and value for the prospect. Most companies have budget and will make decisions if shown value.
8. The other one recently from a sports organization was that they compared their product to a commodity. Similar to corn, oil, rocks, paper napkins, etc., they believed they were "just another amateur sport." In my opinion, even with the most basic products, great salespeople will create value and differentiation. Harvey McKay (public speaker and author of such great books as Dig Your Well Before You Are Thirsty and Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive) sold envelopes. That was long before colored paper and the self-sticking fold. He sold envelopes. How the heck can you differentiate one #11 envelope from another? Harvey did and was extremely successful.
9. I also often hear that "I can't get an appointment." In my world, that means you have no rapport, trust, or initial communication value. It is simply that you are not interesting enough to talk to. So you need to present yourself in a light that people want to meet with you. Show them that you have something they want. Then you will get the appointment. And trust me, you do have something they want or need; they just don`t know it yet. And if you don't... why are you calling on them anyway?
10. "I can't get them to return my calls." See #9. Did you really give them a reason to call you back? When was the last time you called back a pollster or charity asking for money on your voice mail? You need to incite them to want to connect with you.
11. Then there is the excuse that it is someone else's fault. They claim: "Not enough people know about our products" or "We need to run more ads or do better marketing." Marketing and selling are two different things. My question to them is "Have you closed every single opportunity in front of you?" If not, don't worry about the marketing and more leads; close what you have in front of you now!
12. Then, of course, related to #11 is "All I need is more leads." You really don't need more than 10-20 active leads. When you have closed all those, you can have more. No one can effectively and efficiently manage more than 10-20 leads. You may have more prospects in the funnel, but the focus needs to be on active leads. As Todd said, "Cherry picking is not high level selling, be strategic, identify your best prospects and get to them by yourself, you cannot wait for them to find you."
13. And the big one..."It's not my job." When I hear that, I shudder. They claim that administration is someone else's job, or planning and implementation needs to be handled by someone else, or fulfilment is "not my responsibility," and so on. To me, this is someone who is probably better off behind a desk taking orders and passing them along, not a highly qualified sales professional who sells high value propositions that deliver results.
Sponsorship is about relationships and sales. If you do thorough discovery sessions, prospect correctly, and build proposals that work for the prospect, you will succeed in sponsorship sales. Failure to do these things will result in total failure. If you or your salespeople are using any of these 13 sales excuses, they should be red flags for you to address the issues as soon as possible.