Handling sales SNAFUs

It’s inevitable: a SNAFU will happen. Maybe you’ll miss a delivery date, misquote a price or order the wrong tool. Sometimes it’s all your fault. Sometimes it’s the manufacturer's or your WD’s mistake.  It doesn’t matter who’s to blame...


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Making amends makes friends

Once you acknowledge the problem, you need to decide if it warrants some action to make up for the mistake. My rule of thumb is if it’s a small problem that doesn’t cost the customer anything (like downtime) a sincere apology is often enough.

But if it’s a big problem or big purchase, you may want to consider making it up to the customer in some way like a discount, a free tool or accessory or a gift certificate good on a future purchase. Ask yourself: “If I were in my customer’s shoes what would I expect?”

The length of your customer relationship can also help you determine if you should do something to make up for the mistake. You may feel a longtime customer deserves better treatment and give him a bigger makegood. While a first-time customer may have no track record with you, a discount on their next purchase works in the hopes of keeping them as a customer.

One of the best approaches I’ve seen happened to me personally. After a SNAFU, the salesperson asked me: “What do you feel is a fair way to deal with the situation?” When the weight was on my shoulders, I looked at the situation a little differently. The word “fair” made me realize that there were two sides to the sales transaction and it was an honest mistake, not willful dishonesty. I didn’t ask for anything but a fast resolution. I felt satisfied that the salesperson had admitted to the problem and he agreed to make good on it quickly.

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s how we deal with our mistakes that shows our true character and makes the difference between the Professional Distributors and the Other Distributors.

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