After working with salespeople for almost two decades, I’ve heard every excuse in the book for missed sales targets. Here are a few more:

1.    No one returns my calls. If prospects won’t return your phone calls, it’s because they are too busy or you haven’t given them a compelling reason to do so. One salesperson I know gets a high percentage of call backs because his pre-call research allows him to effectively position his solutions.

2.    My territory is too small. This excuse may apply in certain circumstances but is often overused. While a small territory may yield a limited number of new sales leads, there is still the possibility of creating additional sales opportunities within your existing customer base.

3.    My territory is too big. Nice problem! A large territory does present challenges from an account-maintenance perspective, but this issue can be remedied by focusing your attention on the right customers. If you’re overwhelmed, hire a personal assistant to help you manage your accounts. This will free you up to focus on prospecting.

4.    My company expects too much. A district sales manager once lamented that her company expected a twelve percent increase in revenues in the upcoming year. I have never known a company executive to say, “Well, we just finished a record year. Let’s coast next year, shall we?”

5.    My sales targets are unrealistic. Most compensation programs do not reward salespeople who fail to reach their targets. As a result, sales reps often cast these goals as unrealistic. However, top performing sales reps set their own targets, which are often higher than those set by their bosses. And if they can do it, so can you.

6.    I remember when… Give it a rest already! No one cares about the good old days. Yeah, things were different ten years ago, but that was then and this is now. If you want to succeed in the market as it exists today, you’ve got to stop reliving the past. 

You can make all the excuses in the world, but it won’t change the fact that you—and only you—are responsible for reaching your sales targets. This may sound harsh, but if you don’t want that responsibility, perhaps it’s time to consider another career.

Sign up for The Lead and get a new tip in your inbox every day! More tips: