If you’re anything like me, you’ve left some pretty unpolished voice messages when prospecting. You’ve fumbled with words on a sales pitch and probably had moments, messages, emails, and even entire meetings that you wish you could take back, scrap, start over.
Let me tell you about a particularly bad meeting that I was able to turn around. The key to transforming almost every negative situation into a positive is to remember that it’s not what you did; it’s what you do next that really matters.
In a former sales role, I was working with the New York City School District, the largest district in the nation, if not the world. Any professional who has ever worked with any New York client knows that deals with NYC are huge opportunities, coupled with huge amounts of work. The whole sales process from nurture to signed contract can often take a year to complete. My experience was no different.
My first meeting with their Director of Technology Education was a disaster. I felt prepared and had a great pitch laid out. He took me completely off my game with a few questions that I was unprepared to answer. I informed him that I wasn’t prepared to answer them, and would get the answers and follow up within a couple of days. The meeting was cut short and I was on a flight back to Utah.
The trip back home was painful. I couldn’t stop thinking about how bad the meeting was.
”I can’t believe I just blew the chance for my company to work with the single largest opportunity we’ve had in the United States,” I told myself. Then this simple thought came into my mine: “It’s what you do next that counts”.
I got back to the office and immediately emailed the Director of Technology restating our desire to work with them, and I would move mountains to make it happen. It worked. We scheduled to speak on the phone two days later.
Getting the answers was not easy. In the midst of a busy week with our Board of Directors in town, I had to schedule meetings with the CEO, CFO, and VP of Sales. I also had to gather technical documentation together that was in multiple locations throughout the company. It was a long 48 hours, but I was able to get everything together to answer the questions of my client. The phone call went well and the project was under way. A year and half later, after all the red tape, hoops, and road blocks were navigated, we had the signatures on a six month, one million dollar contract with the option to extend and expand at the end of the term.
We’re only human and bad days, meetings, calls, and moments will happen to all of us. The important thing is to put it behind you and remember it’s what you do next that counts!
Brian McFadyen is the Director of Professional Services at XANT. With a rich background in all things sales, Brian works to encourage all clients to become certified in the XANT products, including our lead management software, to ensure maximum productivity.