Apologizing Immediately

If you’ve ever worked in sales at any point in your career I KNOW that there were times you’ve had to apologize. Sometimes for promises you made but couldn’t keep; sometimes because of circumstances beyond your control. It is one of the worst parts of anyone’s job to have to first acknowledge that you’ve dropped the ball to yourself, and then admit it to your clients. As a Sales Manager in the Manufacturing Industry I sometimes faced situations where we were letting our customers down because of vendor, equipment or trucking issues that were beyond our control. My position made it necessary for me to take the reins and apologize.

I learned this:

1. The sooner you admit to yourself that you won’t make the deadline the quicker you’ll be able to develop an alternative plan.
2. As soon as that admission is made, PICK UP THE PHONE or set up a face to face and inform your customer.
3. Accept all responsibility, apologize, and offer an alternative plan.

Of course your client may still be very upset, and you need to allow them to be. But the way you handle difficult situations where you disappoint a client will make or break your long term relationship with them. I have often found these situations make the relationship stronger because the client learns that you won’t leave them in the lurch and they get to see how you perform under pressure. Think of it as an opportunity to really prove your integrity & dedication to your customers.

And then give yourself a break and move past it. None of us are perfect and things do go wrong. As long as you face the situation head on with dignity & honesty you can close the door on a bad day/week and move on.