Sales is a difficult job, no doubt. And prospecting can be the most difficult and the scariest part of that job. It’s no wonder producers have become so gifted at making excuses and the leaders at covering for them. 

We've heard a lot of excuses. Here are just a few of the highlights.

Excuses from salespeople 

  • I have too much service work. 
  • I don’t have any viable names to contact. 
  • I don’t like our CRM. 
  • I don’t have a script for cold calling / emailing. 
  • I have no marketing support. 
  • I don’t like talking with people over the phone / in-person / over email / on social media. 
  • I’m better when I use the phone / email / in-person / on social media. 
  • People don’t answer their phones / email / social media, and they won’t call back. 
  • People won’t set up a video call and buy virtually – they don’t do business like that. 
  • I can’t go to networking events now, and I’m best in person. 
  • have a personal relationship with those people and don’t want to jeopardize it by talking business.  
  • Marketing hasn’t organized an event, so I don’t have a reason to contact anyone. 
  • Marketing didn’t send out the email, so I had nothing to follow up on. 
  • Our website sucks, so I can’t prospect because people will look at it. 
  • Our website is going to launch next week / month / quarter, so I’m going to wait until it launches before contacting anyone because I want them to see the new one. 
  • I can’t write, so it doesn’t make sense for me to blog. 
  • I don’t know what to say on social media, so I don’t participate. 
  • No one pays attention to social media. My clients and prospects aren’t even there.  
  • People will think I’m a pushy salesperson if I connect with them on LinkedIn. 
  • Everyone else is saying and sharing the same things on LinkedIn, so it’s dumb for me to do that too. 
  • I’d like to be online for prospects and clients to hear what’s on my mind, but I wouldn’t want my competitors to hear what I’m saying. 
  • I’m not a good public speaker. And I wouldn’t know what to present about or where. 
  • I don’t think we should send emails because people's inboxes are inundated already – they won’t get opened. 

Excuses from leaders 

  • Salespeople have the ultimate accountability – they eat what they kill. 
  • They’re hitting their numbers, so I don’t want to disrupt what’s working by telling them what to do.  
  • You can’t tame a wild horse! Salespeople, they just do their own thing – it’s the price you pay to have a sales team. 🤷
  • I can’t tell them what to do (they’re independent types or 1099s), and besides, salespeople don’t want accountability and coaching. 
  • Meeting with salespeople to coach them takes a lot of time, and I just don’t have time to devote to that. 
  • We have a CRM, but they’re not required to use it and don’t like to take the time to enter notes, so I don’t really know what they’re doing. 
  • Dumping money into a CRM that no one is going to use is a waste of money. 
  • I know we’re sticklers on processes and accountability with our service teams, but that’s different. If they didn’t do their jobs, we wouldn’t have a business.  
  • Salespeople all have their own style, so to make them learn and follow a company sales process just doesn’t make sense.  
  • I know we haven’t hit our numbers for the last three years, but the team doesn’t want to learn a new way of selling. We tried it before, and they didn’t like it.  
  • We have plenty of value-added services that we pay a fortune for. The team just needs to get out there and sell them – they don’t need training on how to sell a product! 
  • We have a strong reputation in the market that we’re really proud of. That one guy on our sales team – he’s a wild one for sure and has a tendency to be a bit brash. But one person doesn’t actually impact our reputation. Plus, he gets the job done.  
  • I know we have a salesperson who is abrasive with her service team, but they manage valuable company accounts, and we just can’t afford to rock the boat and lose the business.  
  • The sales team doesn’t usually show up for our sales meetings because they’re just a rehash of the same thing each week, so we stopped holding them.
  • They didn’t like the scripts / look of the slides, so they’re not using them. We need to find better ones.  
  • Role play? No, we’d never make anyone do that! They tell me they’re better when they wing it.  
  • We don’t use a single CRM, so no, I don’t know our numbers or have a forecast for the year. But I’m hoping! 🤞 


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Photo by Antonio Guillem