Usually you become senior on any discipline making mistakes. And the best way in my point of view is making them freely. When I started in sales I was so young I could let myself do any mistakes I wanted, I wasn’t compromising as much as I am doing now, and I was aware that there are things you can’t learn. It’s part of losing fear to anything, rejection, loss, embarrassment and finally a low sales figure.
My mistake was a basic chore, so common in sales. What I did was just follow my boss order, which was sending a recently updated price list to a customer. I didn´t had any assigned customers, I was starting my career as a sales assistant. Email contained an attachment which I just forwarded, adding a few comments my manager told me to write over the phone.
Next day, an urgent meeting was set with the customer. Customer (an old customer) was raging mad and angry because he received a list with the prices for all the dealers we had. He had access to special prices we did have for ultra big dealers, as well as rebate figures, and some special products we used to sell for a lower price as kits, and every bit of information he mustn’t have. It was inevitable for the customer to be mad.
My manager gave any kind of explanations to the raging customer. However, it was a trembling year with this customer. We went down 20% of our sales budget for a single error of mine.
This lesson, is a lot of lessons:
1. Double check anything you email. Even if it was revised by the CEO. If you feel something is wrong, don´t send it and talk to your boss to clarify the issue.
2. Never forward anything you haven’t got a look at. Don’t wait ’till you feel miserably for saving 3 seconds of your life. Losing a customer is worst.
3. Set internal use/customer use parameters. Don’t just open talk, send emails or show information to customers before being sure of what’s strictly for internal use.
4. Never trust completely on your manager. This doesn’t mean you disobey, it means giving any direct order a second thought, and always discuss with your manager any fear. He should be listening to what you feel about any issue regarding the market.