It’s Not My Fault!


By Roger N. Daviston

I was talking to my twelve-year-old daughter Emily Friday morning before school. And I asked her where my old little girl had gone. She used to be less hormonal and more loving and fun. I rarely get hugs any more and she spends more and more time away from good ole’ dad. So I posed this question; “what is troubling you?”.

We made a short list:

  1. This house is always a mess!
  2. Andrew (younger brother)…. he needs an attitude change!
  3. And Mom (long sigh)… .she repeats herself, she’s annoying and she embarrasses me!
  4. And the dogs… they always bark at my friends!
  5. And Margaret Ann (third born). well… she always gets into my stuff!

Right about now, I was really feeling good because I was not on her excuse list. I asked, “What about me? What’s wrong with me”. She said, ” You? you won’t buy me a laptop”. I told her that the list was a good list, but I just saw one little problem with it. So I said, “The problem I see is you aren’t on the list anywhere. What could you do different to change some things, Emily”? She said she could go shopping more to get out of the house. Not the answer I was looking for. Now please don’t take this as a measure of my coaching ability; she is my toughest client and doesn’t pay much for my services.

So how does all this relate to salespeople? Last year I tested or coached over 70 salespeople. I get to see a lot of excuse making. The ones that make excuses never get better. They can’t get better because they don’ think they are the problem.

If I run across a person who always blames the economy, the boss, the process, the weather and numerous other things he can’t control, I can’t help them until I can get them to see that they are the problem. Then, and only then, can they begin to expect better outcomes by changing their behavior.

Here are a couple of good rules that will help you accept personal responsibility.

David Sandler said there are no bad prospects, just bad sales people. He also said that sales people must understand that if there is a problem, the problem is with themselves. They must come to the belief that ” I am the problem” before they can improve. Otherwise, they just blame circumstances and wait. It doesn’t hurt as bad when you blame something or someone other than yourself.

I see HVAC replacement sales people who sell furnaces from $2,000 to $6,500. I see HVAC salespeople who make $40,000 per year and some who make $140,000 per year. So what is the difference? There is no simple answer, but I do see and hear the ‘big hitter’ always taking responsibility for not making the sale. Those who don’t take responsibility make a lot less money.

And one more thing, Emily… well, her clothes are still on the floor in MY bathroom… Hmm… Now what can I do different?