Ever made a whopper of a sales mistake? I sure have! Let me share one with you: When I first started out in sales, I had a job working for Xerox. One of the first things we had to do was memorize a demonstration script, which included everything you ever wanted to know about using a copier. We had to learn to recite this speech perfectly before we were allowed to make our first sales call.

All these years later, I still remember how it began: “Mr. Prospect, for years Xerox has designed copiers to satisfy the needs and requirements of all our customers. Our experience and success in the marketplace has shown that regardless of specific needs, four basic criteria need to be met: quality, ease of operation, reliability and flexibility.” Not bad, huh?

It took me a long time to memorize this speech, but I did it. I practiced and practiced. I drove in the car with the script in front of me on the steering wheel. I tape recorded myself reciting it as I drove along. And finally, I was able to pass the test with my boss. I went through it flawlessly and was released into the real world to start cold calling.

And very shortly after this, I schedule my first real demonstration. I was so ready. When my prospect came in, I gave perhaps the best demonstration of my entire life. I nailed that speech! At when it was all said and done, I paused to ask if there were any questions. My prospect turned to me and said, “Jill, my name is not ‘Mr. Prospect.’”

I don’t remember if I sold him a copier or not. All I know is that I was so embarrassed by my rookie blunder, I made sure to never make that mistake again!

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Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. If you’re struggling to set up meetings, click here to get a free Prospecting Tool Kit.