Cue the Jokes…
(One of the 83 quick and practical life & work lessons from Sh*t Sandwich: Quick & Practical Success Lessons for Practically Anyone.)
Excuses are Like Lawyers
Cue the excuses jokes:
- Excuses are like lawyers: everybody likes theirs, even though they know they’re worthless.
- Excuses are also like prostitutes: they’re easy, but they’ll cost you in the end.
- Finally, excuses are like a loud fart: everyone knows you’ve made one and there’s a good chance it stinks.
Anyone can make excuses. Excuses are easy and free and they can just flow from your mouth like a river when you’re in a bind. Unfortunately, excuses not only get you no closer to your goals; in most cases they actually move you further away.
Stop making excuses.
A car dealer client I was working with had a particularly bad month closing customers who arrived for sales appointments. As background, even the worst car dealer’s sales teams can close roughly half of all appointments that show up on-time; so the goal for car dealers today is always to set and confirm the most sales appointments you can.
When this dealership closed below 30% of their appointments one month, I asked what they thought the problem was. I was really hoping to hear that their salespeople dropped the ball and needed additional training or that they cut corners on their processes or that their managers were doing this or that. (You see, if any of these are the issue, then this is good news because these are all solvable.)
Instead, their sales manager said the reason they went from over 60% closing rates to a dismal 28% was because the customers that month were “all credit challenged.”
The sales manager knew it was bullshit, I knew it was bullshit, and the dealer group’s owner knew it was bullshit. It was a lawyer, prostitute, and loud fart all rolled into one.
Had the sales manager just ate this small shit sandwich and disclosed the real issues, they would’ve been on a path to improvement. Instead, the owner asked to see the information on every customer with an appointment that didn’t buy that month. This now became a bigger shit sandwich for the manager as he had to gather data that he knew would not support his excuse, deliver this to the owner, and hear all about the myriad of real reasons his team failed.
His excuse – like all excuses – was worthless, easy, stinky, and it cost him in the end.