The MOST Embarrassing mistake I made as a Salesman and how YOU can avoid it!!

embarrasedI am really nervous today. It is not easy to publicly admit your mistake – what if I scare away a potential client or a recruiter?- But I realized that if my experiences can help even one person out there reading my blog – it is worth the effort! Do I regret having made this mistake? No – not at all – it was my learning curve. As a novice sales person I was fortunate enough to get very understanding superiors – they nurtured my raw talent – and gave me the right direction. Sales is all about listening more and speaking less!! – The article illustrates the most embarrassing mistake I made during my career as a salesman and how you can easily avoid it.

My Biggest Mistake: Not preparing thoroughly!!

Yes that was my mistake – not preparing enough.

Having written it – a heavy boulder seems to be removed from my chest.

I can breathe easy now!!

This is how it all happened:

When I switched over from operation to sales team – I was all ‘charged up’ – my superiors had huge expectations from me – and I wanted to prove them right.

But many a times ‘over enthusiasm’ is the biggest culprit and lead you to embarrassing situations.

So during my first week as a novice sales person – I took a client list and bombarded them with ‘meeting request’ – interestingly I got few confirmation also.

I took my immediate boss to one of the meetings – I had a point to prove – so over the weekend I even crammed up our entire marketing material.

Finally the day arrived and we went for the meeting.

In the conference room I along with my sales head were sitting with the ‘potential client’ – but the meeting turned out to be a HUGE mess – what I thought could be a client was actually asking for business from us!! – They in fact mistook us for a potential client – so for 15 minutes we were pitching business to them and they were to us!

The so called assumed potential client had no business to offer and thought that probably we could give them some!!

Soon we realized the misunderstanding and quickly excused ourselves from the meeting.

My boss luckily was not very angry at having wasted precious time.

Looking back I realize the mistake was learning everything about our own products/services but so little about the clients we are targeting.

As a sales person NEVER do this mistake.

When targeting a client – first understand their business – make notes – try to find out what kind of business requirements they have.

After that make a customized sales pitch to them with service offering suitable for their needs.

Another mistake was not to make my meeting request mail crystal clear – there should not be any doubt about the agenda of the meeting – clearly state the purpose and the motive behind.

I quickly learnt from my mistake and ensured that the next meeting went well – I thoroughly studied my potential client – even going to the extent of reading their latest white papers!

My learning from the incidence:

First study your client – don’t make general sales pitch and most importantly have crystal clear communications!

Always ensure to listen more and speak less in front of the client – they are not so much interested in hearing a taped version of your marketing material – a potential client wants to share his pain areas – listen and provide solution – that is the right way to close deals!

You only get very few chances to make a positive impact – prepare thoroughly!

Now you have a choice. You can comment, share, or implement. I prefer if you implement, but I’ll appreciate all three – Akshay Kanyal