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What To Do When You Messed Up During The Sales Process

So you’re a salesperson and you’ve made a mistake with a customer or prospect. Perhaps you’ve overestimated the time to deployment on a project or perhaps you thought you’d be able to give the client a discount. But it turns out you can’t stretch it that far. 

Of course, we’re all human and we make mistakes, but these types of errors create mistrust and heightened anxiety when buying. Trust of salespeople is at an all-time low; only 18% of buyers trust and respect salespeople. And it’s getting worse and worse with each missold deal.

There are ways to remedy all the mistakes you can possibly make during the sales process, so without further ado, let’s dive in!



What not to do when you messed up during the sales process?

Don’t panic. Panicking and trying to cover up mistakes is s slippery slope. You will only create a scenario where you jeopardize a deal and potentially lose a customer.  Instead of trying to cover up the mistake, look for a way to recover from it.

Take a step back, look at the mistake made and create a game plan to fix it. Everybody makes mistakes, even if it’s only now and again. You can’t think this is the end of the world because it’s not, a cool head makes good decisions so take a deep breath and prepare to make it up to the client. At the end of the day, you should care about the solution you’re providing them and honesty is a huge part of that solution. 

don't panic when you messed up during the sales process



What to do when you messed up during the sales process?

Regardless of the type of mistake you made, everything is fixable. Be it an overpromised deployment time, an underquoted product or a slightly miscommunicated feature, there’s a way to recover from the mistake.  

To remedy the issue, I’d suggest that you try the following steps:


1. Get it out of your system and seek advice

Speak to your manager, business leader, mentor, or whoever you trust and has the expertise and relevant knowledge to help you sort out the mess.

Okay, speaking to a manager. Eek… I know that’s not always your go-to for when you made a mistake. However, if your manager or business leader is worth their salt then they will understand and appreciate that you’ve come to them with a problem rather than just trying to hide it. Your managers should be experienced in troubleshooting issues such as mistakes in the sales process, and hopefully they will be able to assist you in resolving the issue. 

If it seems like you’re a bit out of your depth, they can take the deal off your hands to avoid the risk of losing a client or a deal. Admittedly it’s not wonderful for your internal reputation but again, everyone makes mistakes and any solid team that’s willing to take risks will know that. This all applies if you’re a business leader/owner who is the one making the mistakes.

When my parents told me honesty is always the best policy, I never believed them. I never told my Grandmother that her cake didn’t taste very good and that always worked for everyone other than my tastebuds. Click To Tweet

When my parents told me honesty is always the best policy, I never believed them. I never told my Grandmother that her cake didn’t taste very good and that always worked for everyone other than my tastebuds. But that was a white lie. 

When it comes to the workplace where  the correct information is needed to conduct our daily tasks, honesty is the only policy, and there’s no such thing as white lies.


2. Be honest and upfront with the client

Covering up the mistake that has already been made is just another mistake and this one you can avoid. Just tell the truth and you’ll be surprised how understanding people can be when you’re straight with them.

Admitting to a client that you’ve made an error is difficult. it feels as if you were incompetent and they may as well go to a competitor because you don’t even know your own processes, however, that’s not true. 

The way I see it, admitting you’ve made a mistake is a very human thing, and the thing that we’re lacking more and more in the modern sales process is human interactions. I believe that being honest and admitting that you’ve made an error, shows respect and care towards the client and that it’s not the end of the world. Nearly all deals have bumps along the road, especially in the mid-market and enterprise spaces. 

So, all in all, stay calm, admit that you made a mistake and move forward quickly. 


3. Propose a solution and be ready to rebuild the trust

This last point may seem obvious but you’d be surprised by how many salespeople miss it. 

Come up with an action plan on how you will fix – or in lucky cases how you have fixed – the problem for the client. Making a mistake that you’ll have to sort out is okay. Making a mistake that the client has to pay for either in time or money, on the other hand, is not. Bring the team together, fix the issue and continue building the ever-so-important relationship in order to close the deal.

Other things may arise if you make a mistake, mostly because each deal has its own individual circumstances and a huge variety of errors that can happen. But the basics that will help you fix your mistakes are all in this article to help you. 

In the meantime keep your head up, keep moving forward and keep closing opportunities.

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Jacob is the Head of Sales here at 10to8, working with the ever-growing enterprise client base.

Before he joined in 2017, Jacob co-founded and worked within multiple technology start-ups.

Jacob Buckland

Head of Sales, 10to8 Appointment Scheduling Software

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