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Bill Farquharson

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Sales Maturity

You’ve missed your flight. That urgent job is not going out on time. Two frustrating situations, to be sure. You have choices in what to do next and how you handle the situation is important enough to be the subject of this week’s Short Attention Span Sales Tip.

Good morning!

“I’m sorry, but you have missed your flight.”

That’s how my Tuesday April 9 started. I was on my way to the ISA show in Orlando. A two-hour crawl to go 31 miles ended with me hearing an uncaring ticket agent utter those words.

Put yourself in my shoes for a second.

What would be your next move? Sure, you could complain about the injustice. Loudly. You could tell the agent there was still plenty of time. Angrily. You could raise a ruckus and promise to never fly that airline again. Definitively.

Let’s switch the conversation to an urgent job gone bad…

Due to an oversight in [insert any department], that job you need is not going out today and you might not see it tomorrow, either.

What would your next move be at this point? All the complaining in the world is not going to change anything, yet that’s what most of us would do. No one would be surprised if we threw a fit of biblical proportions. Loudly. Angrily. Definitively.

This is where you need to show some sales maturity: Solve the immediate problem now. Complain later.

You can call your client and make all kinds of, “It’s not my fault” statements. That will not change the fact that the client does not have her order in hand. Instead, figure out what the immediate need is and try to meet it with an immediate solution. For example, let’s say the run was for 50,000 but the client only really needs 1000 today. That is an easier problem to solve.

So, solve it.

Later, after all the dust has settled down, you can look into what happened and make amends. For now, show some sales maturity by ignoring the temptation to blame and hide and get angry.

You have the opportunity to demonstrate your amazing problem-solving skills and actually come out looking even better because there was a problem, than if everything had gone smoothly.

Meanwhile, back in Boston, my immediate need was to get to Orlando. With no other options, I stepped aside, swallowed hard, and booked a one-way, same-day, full-fare ticket. It was a long day, but I did not miss any meetings and I never lost my cool. To the contrary, in fact. I enjoyed the flight down and arrived in a great mood.

I must be mellowing in my old age.

Identify the immediate problem and solve it. Sort out who is at fault later. You will earn the respect of the client, not to mention Production.


Could you benefit from more chill sales advice like this? Join your peers and learn what others are doing to solve the same sales challenges you are facing at or call Bill Farquharson at 781-934-7036.

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