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When doing right goes wrong

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During a recent conversation with a new prospect, I realized I had made a mistake and said something that could potentially affect our relationship. I knew my error probably would not be noticed, but at the same time, I did not feel right not disclosing the information. So, I picked up the telephone, explained my mistake and apologized to my prospect.

I was confident this admission — and my apology — would keep our relationship intact and eventually lead to a deal, but, boy, was I wrong! My prospect was not happy. In fact, she made a point of berating me and telling me in no uncertain terms that she would not be using my services.

Needless to say, I was surprised at my prospect’s reaction. After all, I had pointed out my mistake, taken responsibility for it and apologized. But after her reaction, I couldn’t help but wonder if I had erred in telling her truth. As I thought about it afterward, I realized my prospect had refused to accept my apology.

Did I make the wrong decision? I don’t believe so. I did what I believed was right. Yes, it cost me a sale, but it was the right thing to do.

Sure, if I hadn’t said anything, I would likely have closed the deal, done some work with her company and added more revenue to my business. It’s very possible that my mistake never would have come to light and everything would have been fine. But, I knew I would be haunted by my mistake unless I took responsibility for it.

Sometimes, doing the right thing can backfire. In business, eating a slice of humble pie and admitting a mistake is not always respected the way it should be. I will admit that I am disappointed with the outcome, but if I were faced with the same decision again, I would take the same action.

Salespeople are judged by their behavior. We can’t control how people respond to our actions. However, in the end, we have to live with ourselves. So follow your conscience and do what’s right.

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