Own What You Err

Yesterday a prospect handed my head to me on a platter at the start of my day.  I did not see it coming and it sucked the life of me on the spot.

I called for a simple follow up to a sales call made last week when I brought in a marketing partner that led the content of our meeting.

Yesterday I called merely to request a few details from the prospect, only to be told that we had knocked ourselves out of the running because the partner I brought in on the sales meeting had offended them.  They found his tone to be condescending and insulting.

When the prospect told me his grievance wasn’t directed at me, I asked if I could still go forward in their consideration if I could remove the offending party from their account.  He said, “You had one shot and you blew it.”  Furthermore, “We are seeking your offering, but your company will not be considered.”

While the prospect didn’t let on to their true feelings during the presentation, shame on me for not reading the room better.  A big opportunity slipped right through my hands and that hurt.  I had a busy agenda of other selling to do that day, so there was  no time to wallow in sorrow.

I considered rushing over with a giant cookie in apology but realized they were too offended to go for something that lighthearted.   Instead I sat down and wrote out 2 thank you notes to those in the meeting, for sharing their time and their feedback with us, and then hand delivered them before the day was out.

Sometimes, despite the best intentions, things go very wrong.  Add human chemistry to the mix and egos get bruised, feelings get hurt.

Though I hadn’t done wrong myself, I still had to own it because I’d scheduled the meeting.  This was certainly not the lasting impression I’d ever want to leave with a potential customer.  Though we lost this opportunity, my reputation is all I have, and maybe there will be another chance down the road or if this prospect re-surfaces at another company.

Always own it.  Be generous with apologies.  They rarely fail.


About Melanie M. Morris
Broker of Trust and Authenticity I'm really a sales executive, but I'd rather identify with these ideals rather than to simply say...I'm a seller.

6 Responses to Own What You Err

  1. That really sucks. How have you handled it with the marketing partner who ruined it for you?

  2. Melanie M. Morris says:

    Yes it did suck. He deserved to hear the truth that I heard, so I immediately called him and passed long the feedback. He was as shocked as me.

  3. eddiefeldman says:

    Well said. Sorry that happened to you

  4. sydney says:

    wow! . i’ve sat on all sides of this table . and at some point in an adult’s life you learn through experience to give both truth and grace . it is always hard for me to walk away from monies on the table . but . this person/client also has the burden of honest dialogue . in the moment! . it reads as if they were so easily and inconsolably offended and never considered owning their part in the presentation . the sunny view of this is that they were taken off your to do list . and that might also be called deliverance! . m, you are a hard working delight . don’t allow this to steal one moment of your joy in doing what God has gifted you to do!

    • Melanie M. Morris says:

      Thanks for the support Syd! While I agree they have the burden of honest dialogue, they don’t have to accept that. Beauty of being the customer. But that was why I thanked them in the end because no one ever likes delivering bad news. Me? I’d rather have the honesty.

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