How to re-sell a customer you lost when you made a mistake. Good luck! Making a mistake with a customer and losing someone’s business and then earning it back is a great experience. The mistake you made with this customer and the lost revenue and goodwill was a painful lesson that you will probably learn.
Making a mistake, and then atoning for it, allows you to demonstrate the things that are absolutely necessary to create a great relationship with a client. You must demonstrate THC-not tetrahydrocannabinol-but demonstrate that you are worthy of your client’s TRUST, that you can HELP your client and that you CARE about your client.
Example: Let’s say that you, or someone on your team, made a material error in a product or service that you provided to a client. In other words, you or someone on your team, blew it. If it was someone on your team, many sales people would throw them under the bus. I suggest that you do not do this and accept full responsibility.
The conversation would go something like this:
Joe, I am so sorry. I blew it. I ended up delivering a product to you with the wrong specifications. You chose to use us as a vendor because you were confident we could deliver the product to at the best combination of price and quality within the time frame you needed. I didn’t do that. I know we can do what we promised in the future. I accept full responsibility and ask that you forgive me and tell me this: What would it take to re-earn your business?
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What did you accomplish by the above statement? First, you reminded the customer that they chose you because you could HELP. They didn’t choose you at random. They chose you because you won the competition for their business. Reminding them again of why they made the choice in the first place is a good idea.
Second, you showed that you cared enough to make the call. You could have blown them off and simply gone on to the next prospect. You showed that you CARE.
You also demonstrated the most important characteristic that a client looks for in a sales person; trustworthiness. You showed that you were willing to admit to and own a mistake. I will do business with people that I don’t trust. Case in point-my local cable provider. I don’t trust them as far as I can throw one of their service trucks. I have to do business with them because I need download speeds of over 3 Meg. With my cable company I get somewhere between 5 and 20. The promise 20. I will do business with other people I don’t trust. But, and it’s a big BUT. They must be, by far, the least expensive, have the quickest turn around or the greatest quality. And, whenever I possibly can, even if means a longer lead time or a higher price or lesser quality that is in acceptable limits, I will go with someone I do TRUST.
You also did two things that are not on the THC list and are very important. You demonstrated courage and courageous acts are admirable. And, you didn’t take the opportunity to throw someone else under the buss. Accepting personal responsibility is a dying character trait. Demonstrating this sets you apart.
Action Items/Activity Triggers
1. Show that you are worthy of TRUST by being truthful and admitting that you made a mistake.
2. Remind the client of why they chose you to reinforce the fact that you can HELP
3. Take the time to follow up with an apology, and ask for their forgiveness to show that you value them and that you CARE .
4. Be courageous enough to make the call and accept personal responsibility for the problem-even if someone else blew. After all, they are your client.