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Practice Management > Building Your Business

7 Lies Salespeople Tell Themselves

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Do you lie to yourself? You may not think so, but I’m guessing you probably do. See if any of these sound familiar.

1. “I could reach my quota if my company lowered their prices.” If I had a nickel for every time I heard this…While price is a factor in every sale, it is seldom the primary reason people make their final buying decision. Very few companies set their pricing higher than the market will bear.

If you rely solely on price to close deals then you will condition your customers to constantly push you for a larger discount or a better price.

2. “I’ve got this deal in the bag.” I think this is one of the most common lies salespeople tell themselves. In fact, I hate to admit that I’ve been guilty of this from time to time. It’s easy to tell this lie when a prospect says, “This looks good. Let me get back to you in a couple of days.” You tell yourself that he or she is seriously interested in your product or service. I’ve heard prospects say, “This is great. What do we do next?”only to have them balk at making a final decision.

No deal is guaranteed until the other person signs the agreement, gives you confirmation or places the order.

3. “The competition is always offering better prices.” While some competitors will consistently beat you on price, the reality is that most companies are competitively priced. It’s a rare situation when competitors will out-price you on everything you sell unless their products are substantially different.

4. “My territory is too big (or too small).” In the more than 16 years I have worked with salespeople, I have never heard anyone say, “I have the perfect number of accounts.” In an ideal world, you would be able to see or meet with every account or customer. However, the reality of today’s sales world is that companies are struggling to do more with less, which means most salespeople have to manage a big sales territory. The key is to manage your accounts more effectively.

Invest the bulk of your time managing your best and most-profitable accounts (top 20 percent) and customers that have good potential to grow (next 20 to 30 percent). Wean yourself from responding quickly to your high-maintenance, low-profit customers (bottom 20 percent).

5. “If I don’t set a sales target, I won’t be disappointed.” First of all, let me say that I’m surprised how many sales-based organizations don’t require their sales teams to establish targets and goals. After all, how can you monitor performance if you aren’t tracking results? OK, now that I have that off my chest, let’s take a closer look at this lie.

In my eyes, people who don’t set sales targets are essentially saying, “I’m not sure what I’m going to do this year, and I don’t want to work harder than I have to.” Top-performing sales reps always set high, ambitious goals, and their targets are usually higher than those set by their companies. They use these goals to inspire and motivate themselves to achieve more.

6. “No one is buying.” I recently spoke to someone who sells cars, an industry that has been particularly hard hit in the last few years. His sales are continuing to increase even though many people in the same business are complaining of declining sales. Regardless of the economy, people still make buying decisions. They still make purchases. Companies still need products and services.

Stop wasting time thinking about the people who aren’t buying and find the people and companies who are buying.

7. “I don’t need to practice my sales presentation.” Yeah, and professional athletes don’t need to practice their sports because they are at the top of their game. The best salespeople seldom take their sales appointments and meetings for granted. They rehearse the questions they need to ask. They run through their presentations to make sure they have included the necessary details and that their presentations flow in a logical manner and address their prospects’ situation and/or needs.

As painful and difficult as it can be, you are better off telling yourself the truth instead of lying to yourself.

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Kelley Robertson helps sales professionals master their sales conversations so they can win more business at higher profits. Get a free copy of “100 Ways to Increase Your Sales” and “Sales Blunders That Cost You Money” at