I had a position coach during my freshman year in college that made the comment, “Point the thumb, before you point the finger,” and it has stuck with me ever since. Our football team was in a transition period, new coaches, new players, new strategies and we stunk pretty badly.
One week, we sat down before practice for our normal Monday meeting, after a particularly bad loss and team morale couldn’t have been lower. People were yelling at each other on the sidelines, the finger-pointing ran rampant. We were turning on each other, and it was getting ugly. Our position coach came into the meeting and passionately yelled, “POINT THE THUMB, BEFORE YOU POINT THE FINGER!” He was talking about taking responsibility for your own actions; stepping up and doing everything you can to do your job to the best of your ability. If someone slipped up, you pick them up, don’t point the finger and pass the blame. Do your job better. I will never forget those words and that lesson.
Same “rule of thumb” applies to the sales profession. Sandler Rule #41, “There are no bad prospects – only bad salespeople.” It’s easy to blame everything else. Salespeople will point the finger of blame at: the prospect, the customer, the economy, the competition, the pricing, their management and so on. Many salespeople have a tendency to externalize their problems, rather than accept the responsibility for what’s going on in their base of business – and in their careers. Guess what? Whatever is happening in your relationship with a prospect or customer – whether it’s success or failure – is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!
Next time when things don’t go your way, don’t deprive yourself of the opportunity to learn from the mistake by pointing the finger. You will be destined to repeat it. Instead, point the thumb and ask yourself what you could have done differently? What will you do differently next time? What responsibility will you accept for what happened, or didn’t happen? Comment below.