Yes, mistakes happen, and they happen all the time, large and small, some trivial, some not. Some simple, and some that, well let’s just say if you don’t fix them, you may find yourself with a bigger problem than you had originally bargained for.
No matter how big or small, how you deal with a problem speaks volumes about your character. How you deal with mistakes tells a lot about you as person; your sense of personal responsibility, accountability, and integrity.
Let me give you an example on how, or how not, to deal with a mistake. On Saturday morning, I went out for a long run. When I got back I noticed that for whatever reason my mailbox was knocked down. I have (or had) one of those freestanding mailboxes that sat on a shelf on a 4×4 post out by the street. You know, the ones that are encased in concrete in the ground. Anyway, I asked my wife what the heck happened. She tells me that my neighbor (who happens to be in sales) was aerating his yard and ran into it. She said that he came over, told her that he hit it, and said that he would fix it.
OK, no big deal, right? Well, his idea of fixing it involved going to the local hardware store and buying a single, 4×4 piece of wood (about $5) and throwing in my yard. I figured he needed to get some additional supplies to complete the work so I let it go.
Later in the evening as we were eating dinner, my doorbell rings, and guess who? Yes, the driver of the run away aerator. My wife knows I’m not real happy, since there had been no progress on the repair, so as I begrudging head to the door she says, “be nice”. Heeding her advice, I open the door then jokingly say, “You know, you shouldn’t drink and drive an aerator”. Instead of an apology, and a plan for the repairs, he blatantly lies to me saying how he barely touched the post with his arm and it just fell over. What a crock of %&@#!
He then explains how he went to the store and picked up a post for ME and threw it in my yard. What, for me?
He goes on to say he was talking with the neighbor on the other side of him and they decided that next weekend they were going to replace his post as well and if I wanted, he would help me then. What? Help me? When did this guy’s ignorance become my problem?
Long story short, I ended going to the hardware store myself, purchasing the required materials, and replaced everything myself.
So why share this story? What are the take-a-ways?
Every salesperson, regardless of the industry, product, or skill level, makes mistakes from time to time. If you make a mistake, take action immediately. The mistake won’t correct itself. If you do not act quickly, and put off dealing with it, it will only get worse. Admit fault and don’t try to pass blame onto something or someone else. Take responsibility and fix it!
Bottom line, when you do screw up, and you surely will, learn to recover quickly and fix your mistakes. Show that you are a responsible and dependable professional.
Obviously, my neighbor is not!