All salespeople have had one. A REALLY embarrassing sales call. Here's a story of a VERY bad sales call.
DS: I’ve done a lot of work in the insurance field, and I was doing a presentation in an area where there’s a lot of farms. And when people were sharing their – confessing their most embarrassing moments with me, John shared this story, which we’ll call, “Baaad Luck at the Farm.”
Poor John, he’s going to be counting sheep instead of money in his sleep tonight. So here’s what happened. He says, “It didn’t even really matter that I had to spend another $5.00 to wash my dust-covered car after leaving this prospect’s property. My partner and I had finished a tough series of sales calls on a large corporate farm. The owner was taking on a complete insurance package. We were covering everything. I was looking at almost $50,000 in commission, staring me in the – well, in the bank account. And it didn’t even matter, as well, that I had to thoroughly scrape the bottom of my shoes before soiling the carpet in my car again. A Chicago city boy like me can make good money in the country even with minimal selling skills.
So let me set it up for you. There sat the four of us at a table, the owner with his hands folded on his desk, and his accountant with his hands folded atop a large leather black book, the company checkbook. My partner and I beamed at each other and pulled out one last form. ‘In order for us to see that you’re completely covered we need your livestock totals.’ And I began to call out the animal names and receive the numbers of each herd with babies listed separately. Beef cattle, milk cows, horses, pigs, and then sheep. 120 was his reply. ‘Ee-wees.’ ‘Huh?’ grunted the owner. ‘Ee-wees,” I said, clearly mispronouncing the word again. ‘How many ee-wees you got?’
‘Let me see that form,’ the farmer said. I pointed, and he yelled, ‘That’s ewes, you idiot. Have you ever been on a farm? How are you supposed to help me with my business if you don’t know anything about farming? You know what, don’t even answer that question. Just get out, get out of my office!’ We walked quickly to my car, not even stopping to clean our shoes, hopped in and drove away $50,000 poorer.”
Here’s your postmortem. Okay, so John was a bit short on his product knowledge training, but here’s a question I have for you. What do you do when you blow it on a call? Because we all do from time to time, perhaps some of us a lot more in our rookie years than later on. Here’s what I suggest you do. Be very, very remorseful. You could say something like, “Oh Lord, you must think I’m my company’s village idiot. I’m so sorry. If you don’t want to do business with me I completely understand.” Don’t be surprised when you do this if the prospect doesn’t say, “Hey, that’s okay. I did some dumb things in the past, too. Let’s just keep going.” If you feel bad you’ll make most people want to help you to not be so hard on yourself, and you could even save the sale.
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