Sales Professionals Just Do The Work, Sales Reps Find The Excuses!

blog Dec 13, 2021
Sales Professionals Just Do The Work, Sales Reps Find The Excuses!
"Leadership - leadership is about taking responsibility, not making excuses."
Mitt Romney

When it comes to leadership in sales, I first think of self-leadership, self-accountability, and the willingness to remove all the excuses.

When you make excuses, you aren't giving yourself a shot to succeed.

What would happen if you stopped the excuses, the mental gymnastics, and trained yourself to try new things?

What would you learn?

What would happen to your sales results?

What would happen to your professional growth?

One of my favorite quotes is by Craig Groeschel,

"We can make excuses, or we can make progress but we can't make both."

There have been countless articles and comparisons between professional athletics and sales.

Let's just all stop for a moment and reflect upon the following...

Can you imagine a professional athlete operating with a sales reps mindset?

Once asked why he was so successful on the basketball court, Kobe Bryant looked right at a reporter and said: “Have you seen Los Angeles at 4 am? I see it often because that’s when I start training.”

It can sometimes be difficult to find differences in top athletes which are noticeable. Their level of physical imbalance is minuscule.

What separates the good from the great? What separated Kobe Bryant from good athletes?

Top athletes are finely tuned machines. They spend their lives perfecting their craft as they look to gain every conceivable physical and mental advantage over their opponents.

Success as a professional athlete or as a sales professional is simply a consequence of practice and repetition. There are no shortcuts. It's based on pushing yourself to do better and better.

Sales professionals remove the word excuse out of their vocabulary.

Sales reps consistently talk about their work ethic as most enjoy puffing the chest BUT are they really committed to it? Does the walk match the talk when it comes to putting in the necessary work? Where's the consistency and discipline?


“An excuse is a way of promising ourselves that we will have the same issue again.”
Henry Cloud

Excuses stunt sales growth. Excuses stunt relational growth. They are invented reasons we create to defend our behavior, to postpone taking action, or simply as a means of neglecting responsibility.

Excuses are mainly a means of placing the blame of an internal problem on an external condition.

“Excuses are tools of incompetence used to build bridges to nowhere and monuments of nothingness, and those who use them seldom specialize in anything else.”
Vernon Brundage Jr.

There are numerous reasons why people make excuses.

Let's look at a few...

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
  • Fear of change
  • Fear of uncertainty
  • Fear of what others may have to say

The roadmap to success for a sales professional is based upon disciplined work, personal ownership, and practice. They hold themselves accountable to a process and they just do it!

Why do sales reps have difficulties doing what sales professionals do?

How willing, able, and committed are you to practicing, planning and preparation?

This is what sales professionals hold themselves accountable to do every single day!


Sales reps with an excuse mentality fear negative outcomes and make excuses to avoid responsibility.

Sales professionals hold themselves personally accountable. They hold themselves to a higher degree of standards than sales reps. They have a no-excuse mentality and they don't point fingers when they fail to hit their sales plan.

They hold themselves accountable even if their manager doesn't.

Why do so many in sales reps accept excuses?

Sales reps love swimming in the sea of excuses. Many use excuses to rationalize their actions regarding the circumstances they've created for themselves such as... Why they didn't hit their sales plan, why they lost one of their best clients, and why they don't have time to prospect.

One excuse follows another excuse which follows another excuse. You want to know what the real issue is here... lack of commitment!

When you only put half of yourself into something and then proceed to make excuses, you disrespect yourself, your manager, and your company.

Half-ass efforts get you half-ass results
  • How committed are you to the sales profession?
  • How committed are you to practice?
  • How committed are you to yourself?


A huge problem with salespeople today can be attributed to lack of consistency and discipline. Simply, doing the right things right. 

Sales professionals do things differently than the sales reps. They practice with purpose, passion, and pride.


Sales professionals set goals and invest the mental and physical energy towards achieving their goals. They equip themselves with an arsenal of effort, patience, and persistence as they understand their journey is difficult. They are realistically optimistic.

Can the same be said for sales reps?


Sales professionals understand, no matter what, there's always room to improve. This may involve learning a different technique, strategy, or even hiring a coach.

Can the same be said for sales reps?


The success of sales professionals is built upon small sustainable changes. When those become second nature, they add in new challenges. Whatever their goal is they track their progress and are consistently consistent with practice.

Can the same be said for sales reps?


I encourage the self-centered and the "all about me" sales reps out there to kick your complacent mindset right in the ass.

Do you think a complacent mindset lands an elite athlete a new contract?

Sports athletes don’t come out of rookie training camp saying, “I’m shooting for average – average skills, average income and average performance.

Chew on this one for a moment...

When you started out in sales you didn't set out with the goal of hanging on, doing enough to just “get by”, or "winging it" by figuring out how to survive until you can inherit other sales reps accounts. Well, at least not in the beginning, correct?

You learned that mindset. You learned that behavior. You learned to settle. You failed to practice. You started to make excuses.

I'm positive the mind can be convinced of almost anything if you tell it the same story repeatedly.

So here lies the question to all of you in sales...

Are you happy with average results or have you just convinced yourself that’s the case?

Excuses stunt sales growth.

So-called being busy stunts sales growth.

Growth is uncomfortable!

“When you are good at making excuses, it is hard to excel at anything else.”
John L. Mason

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