If your team is spinning these stories, beware: Your reps either can't or won't do their jobs well.
This post will probably make a lot of salespeople upset or angry. It reveals the "trade secrets" of the sales profession--the lies that salespeople tell their bosses in order to smooth things over.
But since you're the boss, you need to know these. Any time you hear one of these statements, you probably want to investigate a little deeper.
1. 'Budget is not an issue with this customer.'
The source of this lie is wishful thinking, along with the fact that the sales rep has not yet bothered to find out where your offering fits in the customer's priorities. In fact, budget is always an issue--with every customer.
2. 'I have a great memory, so I don't need to write down what I've learned about a customer.'
One of the great realities of the business world is this: If it's not written down, it's not real. Sales reps who rely upon their memory virtually always let important events and commitments fall through the cracks.
3. 'I made 100 cold calls today.'
When pressed about the lack of prospects in their pipeline, many sales reps will exaggerate the number of cold calls they've made, just to show that they're working hard. In all likelihood, the rep who says this has actually made around 10 cold calls, at most.
4. 'We lost that deal because we didn't have [feature XYZ].'
This popular excuse is trotted out whenever a competitor convinces the customer that a feature (which the competitor has and you lack) is all important. In fact, the sales rep was simply outsold.
5. 'I'll make quota; my deals will close at end of quarter.'
Sales reps tell this lie when they're not closing business but are afraid to face the reality that the quarter is going to a weak one. They're hoping and praying for a lucky break--when they should be redoubling their efforts to close business more quickly.
6. 'We lost that deal because our price is too high.'
This lie surfaces whenever sales reps fail to sell benefits rather than price. The rep probably got caught in a price war with a competitor, and failed to make the financial case for purchasing your product. That means the truth, once again, is that your sales rep was outsold.
7. 'I haven't called that customer but I have it scheduled for later today.'
Sales reps tell this lie when managers remind them about a customer situation that slipped through the cracks. Whenever this lie appears, it's a good sign that the sales rep in question isn't on top of things.
GEOFFREY JAMES writes "Sales Source on Inc.com," the world's most-read sales-oriented blog. His new book, Business Without the Bullsh*t, will be published in early 2014. To get weekly blog updates, sign up for his free "Insider" newsletter. @Sales_Source