Did you like my Wisdom? If so, please share it with your friends and colleagues so they can understand why they need to come clean with their customers when they make a mistake and possibly save the deal. -Matt
I screwed up recently.
OK, so not just once (don't ask my wife), but only one time that you need to know about.
You see, I told a great prospect I would have a proposal to them by Friday. Instead I spent extra time calling with a current client on the other side of the state, and by the time I got home other things had become a priority. It's inexcusable, so I did the only thing I could do.
A friend and fellow business owner made an uncharacteristic series of small mistakes that may have cost him a shot at a great customer last week. For his (or her) sake I will spare you the details of their not so proud moment, but when we talked two things became clear. First, they were really, really, really ticked that the mistakes happened at all. Second, there was only one course of action that might save the deal.
It happens. To everyone. It may not even be your fault. You can't run. You can't hide. There is no escape.
The real measure of your quality is how you deal with the mistakes you make.
I want to take a couple of minutes this week to talk about a topic that is very near and dear to me, based on the experience I recently had, as well as the experience of a good friend of mine last week. That is, what do you do when you make a mistake? Now, for anybody who has followed Windshield Wisdom at all, you know I preach two big things when it comes to the relationship part of the equation. That's the "R" part of the Formula, and that is have a plan for your customers and prospects, and do what you say you will do.
Here's the trick, sometimes that doesn't happen. Sometimes you make a mistake, or several mistakes together. Sometimes you aren't able to deliver on the deadline you proposed. Sometimes you don't get them the information they requested when you said you would. Those are all huge problems. You have to be able to do it. But from my experience, for most situations like that, those deals can be saved. Or at least give you a chance to save them by doing one thing.
And that is...go in. Face to face. Stand in front of that person. Look them in the eye and say..."I'm sorry".
It's easy to send off an email saying, "I'm sorry this never happens. It won't happen again." It's one thing to make a phone call and say, "Hey listen, I made a mistake. I apologize." In my experience, people make mistakes. If you're human you are going to screw up, but the measure of a person is how they own up to it and fix it. When I was in banking it was incredibly important, especially when you're talking about messing with people's money, that if a teller, or a personal banker, or one of my commercial lenders, or anybody made an error, no matter how small. No matter how simple we owned up to it. It all gets amplified when there's money involved. It was important that I, as the leader, was able to stand in front of that person and say, "I understand. We screwed up. We're going to fix it and make it right, and here are the things we're going to do to make sure it doesn't happen again. If you stand in front of a customer. If you stand in front of a prospect, and you have made a mistake and say those things then you have a chance of either...
That is, as long as it's not something that happens again.
So that's the Windshield Wisdom this week. Short and sweet, but I wanted to make sure you guys understood that those deals, when you make a mistake, can be saved. It's too easy to write them off. It's too easy to ignore them. I've seen that happen all too often. If you be the person you believe that you are, and stand up in front of them and tell them, "I made a mistake and I will not let that happen again. My deepest apologies to you. You mean more to me than that." Then you have a chance to salvage something that could be very valuable both to you and to them.
Thank you very much. I hope you enjoyed this week's Windshield Wisdom. Go out. Make sales. Be Happy, and be successful.
Matt Middendorp is a nationally acclaimed speaker and sales coach with over 20 years of experience turning connections into customers and advocates. In 2013, Matt founded Sales Math, and debuted his “Formula for Success” sales training system to bankers across the country. From the beginning, Matt’s clients have experienced learning that is fun, meaningful, and makes a difference in the real world. Today, Matt’s core philosophies of “Learn Together, Do Together, Grow Together” are taught through in-person coaching, online as part of the Cool Bankers Academy, and by his leadership of the Cool Bankers Club Facebook Group. His clients are making millions based on the confidence and skills gained from learning a sales process tailored to their individual personalities and businesses. For information about training and workshops visit www.Sales-Math.com, call (715) 897-0879, or email Matt personally at [email protected]
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