I am the best salesman in the world!

It was a beautiful Friday afternoon and my team had just finished manufacturing my first follow-up order with the largest utility in the state.  I was on cloud nine; things couldn’t be going any better!  Nine months into my new sales position and I could just see the door to my new office…Vice-President of Sales.

Six weeks earlier during a meeting with my client, he mentioned that there would be some changes coming with the next order.  I gave him the old, “Don’t worry, I’ve got it covered”.  I didn’t listen to his follow up information, although in hindsight, that would have been the smartest move.  It was only a matter of time before I was crowned King of Sales.

Then, the roof caved in! My administrator called, “Did you mean to manufacture this new order using the same specs as the original order?”

Of course I replied, “Yes – WHY?

It was then that I learned that my team produced 2,500,000 envelopes with the window in the wrong position – based on my instructions.  Due to my lack of detail, the billing envelopes showed the customer account number and billing amount in the window, for everyone to see.

This was going to be the shortest sales career on record.

After the initial shock, I called my manager to give him the news.  Needless to say he was not pleased, but offered some sage advice; “Call the client, let them know that we have an identified an issue with their order.  We are working on a solution and will be in touch on Monday.”

I spent the weekend with a knot in my stomach trying to think how I could save this account and my job.

First thing Monday morning I was in my manager’s office – I had nothing.  Fortunately, based on his experience, our production manager had devised a solution that might work, if the client would agree to it.  My job was to connect with the client, explain the situation, and ask that we have the opportunity to present our solution – the client agreed to meet and consider our proposal.

We gave the client a workable solution that would ensure security for his customer’s information, and save the time and cost of reproducing his order.  As a bonus, we provided him with a new marketing tag line to identify his company brand.

By admitting our mistakes upfront, gathering all of the facts, and offering possible solutions,  we gain our clients trust as valuable business partners and develop stronger relationships.

Posted by Kevin Brown

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