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Funny Sales Mistakes and Sales Training Moments to Learn From

By Tim Deuitch

We do this work all the time, and we've done it for years. We've come across all kinds of funny moments, and things were they didn't quite go the way we thought, or just funny things people say. What kind of experiences have you had? What kind of moments?

Susan Hall: 00:01  Well, I guess it was kind of funny, although that poor salesperson, I think about him, I'm sure he didn't intend it to be, but I actually was in a presentation and the salesperson came in, it was a high tech sale. We had 45 minutes. He had 107 slides and right about slide four, the customer said, "You know what, we really don't want to talk about that. What we want to talk about is this," and the salesperson said, and I quote, "That's on slide 54. I'll be getting to that in just a few more minutes."

Ron Schild: 00:26  Obviously, not understating this situation.

Ron Schild: 01:08  I always ask about challenges that sales managers have in teaching the skills and making effective sales presentations and calls, and this was one of the most amazing stories, because what comes up, that didn't come up 40 years ago, is the use of technology, this phone. Younger salespeople believe that they almost can't let this phone go. It's got to be in their hands, we have to have the phone with us. The sales manager said the most amazing experience was, and I've told my people they don't need their phone when they're face to face with a customer. I call the sales rep, had no idea where he was at, and he answered the phone and I said, "So what's going on today?" He said, "Well, I'm here with Mr Jones, our customer, prospect." He's sitting in his office and said to him, "You know, you probably don't want to answer your phone." He said, "Oh yeah, that's OK. I'm glad I did answer the phone because I was hoping, maybe you could talk to him," and hands the phone to the customer. We all just sat there and took kind of a gasp and I said, "So what's the answer to that?" He said, "I tell them, never take the phone into a call with a customer."

Joane Ramsey: 02:28  I had a funny situation where we had an introduction call with one of the facilitators and the customer. We go through the typical, here's why we are here, and this is the reason, and this is the person we're going to be introducing, and the client simply, completely disregarded us. He told us his life story, told us what he thought was going to happen, and at the end didn't let us get the introduction in, didn't let us talk at all, and says, "Great call people. I think it's going to be a great intervention," and my facilitator and the client hangs up and he goes, "I hope that went well. I thought I was going to introduce myself, but he seems pretty comfortable with my name." I said, "Well, I think it was a great call if he thought it was."

Tim Deuitch: 03:21  Well, I like the quotes. When you're in the middle of a particular section of our work and so forth, and there was a quote when we were in the middle of discovery, really good questions, and finally someone raised their hand and said, "You know, how in the world am I going to find out what their needs are if I keep having to ask him all these questions?" It was honestly stated, and then everybody just burst out laughing. But, the best one that I can think of, in this context was about building trust, what we're looking at, all the gravity, and the importance of building trust. This person is clearly from a small town and she asked this question. She said, "What happens if I run into my prospect at the deli counter, how do I build trust quickly?" The fun part is the other participants sort of rescue the moment. They're like "Recommend the salami."

Susan Hall: 03:21  "Buy them a cookie."

Tim Deuitch: 03:21  "Use some discovery, find out what kind of mustard they like."

Susan Hall: 04:27  It's interesting, because we all have these moments, and the reality is, all of us are out there, trying to do our best. I think there may be somebody somewhere telling a funny story about something that we've done over the years, but the whole idea is to learn from it.

Tim Deuitch: 04:27  Well said.

Ron Schild: 04:27  Very good.

Best of luck and let me know how I can help you achieve more effective training!

Published: May 11, 2018


Tim Deuitch

Senior Performance Consultant

Tim brings over 25 years of experience working closely with business leaders throughout the Twin Cities and the USA. He has worked within a multitude of workplace cultures and economic cycles, helping leaders and teams improve their effectiveness and results. Since joining SEG in 2007, Tim has continued his work as a change agent, helping organizations meet their goals. Tim graduated from Warren Wilson College in 1983 with a B.S. degree in social work.

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