I am not real proud of this one.
But this story needs to be told.
The prospect called the CEO and VP of Sales of my company he
was so pissed off.
The customer's offices were in Colorado Springs. I was
living and working out of Seattle at the time.
I had committed to fly out and give a demonstration of our
accounting software to this company. They had planned on
bringing a few people in from their offices in other cities.
Plane flights were required for them, from where I can't
In fact I can't even remember the name of this prospect. I
guess that's selective memory loss.
But one week before I was to fly 3 states away and give my
all afternoon sales presentation I made a decision.
I had this sinking feeling in my gut that this sale wasn't
I had been in sales for nearly 6 years, and one thing I had
started to notice was that I was developing an intuition
about my deals.
Every deal I had ever won felt right from the start. And
similarly every deal I had lost felt bad from the start.
So a little late, I decided to trust my intuition.
I say a little late because I should've never committed to
going out and visiting onsite. And I shouldn't have waited
till just a week before to cancel.
I should have said no right up-front when I did my
qualifying, and I could see by the business requirements
that were driving the deal that it wasn't the best fit for
But I didn't.
And I called and canceled my visit.
And this prospect chewed me out. He threatened me that he
would call my company and tell them. Then he made good on
his threat and called my VP of Sales and my CEO and told
them how unprofessional I was.
At the time I felt both good and bad about my decision.
I felt good because I knew that I had made the right
decision for me, and for my company.
I felt bad because I had broken a commitment and probably
cost some other people some bux due to my inexperience and
inability to be decisive up-front.
When I spoke to my VP of Sales, he wanted to know why I
backed out of the deal.
I explained why this was not a good deal for us to be in, he
agreed with me and said he would tell the CEO that and back
me up. He just wished I hadn't pissed off the prospect.
You gotta have a thick skin in sales. You gotta do the right
thing for you and your company.
Sometimes that means breaking a commitment if it's one you
shouldn't have made.
Sometimes that means disappointing or even angering someone.
Better to make the right decision the first time. But part
of life is making mistakes and learning from them. The
sooner you can recognize and correct a mistake the better.
You gotta be yourself if you're gonna have a chance at
connecting with people and doing well in sales. And to be
yourself you gotta dump the baggage that we all got loaded
up with before going into selling.