“It’s easier to eat crow while it is still warm.” – Dan Heist
I once hired a consultant who had more natural talent in our business than I have ever seen. I invited him to sit in on a sales call that was worth about $32,000 worth of consulting.
(That was a HUGE contract for me at the time.)
Just before we walked through the door, I explained to my new consultant that this was a very big deal for me. I also explained that I had been working on it for some time. I told him that although he was there to watch and learn if he had ideas that might help, to feel free to bring them to me.
That was a big mistake.
I basically put someone with a lot of talent into a position where he was in way over his head and invited him to experiment.
Every time my potential customer asked me a clarifying question, I would explain the process in a little more detail. Then, immediately after I finished, my consultant-in-training would jump in and try to “save the deal.”
I was very frustrated. My goal was to help this young person grow. However, since he had very little experience in consulting calls like this, he had no idea that his “help” was actually “hurting” the potential client. Our drive back to the office was very quiet. In my head, I was watching months of work go down the drain.
MY MISTAKE CAUSED THE ORIGINAL PROBLEM
I went over what I wanted to say to him many times in my head, but I just couldn’t figure out how to say something that didn’t sound really angry. Finally, I told him that, while I welcomed his input, his constant interruptions made it very difficult for me to help the customer.
I expected him to be apologetic. However, his reaction was quite different. He just said, “I only jumped in when I was sure that you were blowing the sale.”
At that point, all my prepared verbiage went out the window. I exploded. I went on a tirade telling him that his 3-weeks of experience didn’t make him an expert.
(I know… Not my best moment. This is also one of those moments that I have regretted for many years.)
When I was finished, I turned to my computer and ignored him the rest of the day. I knew I needed to apologize, but I let him leave without saying a word. He never came back.
WHEN YOU ARE WRONG, JUST ADMIT IT QUICKLY
If I had confessed MY mistake, instead of pointing out his, I probably could have helped him build a promising career.
Do you realize that if we were right just 51% of the time, we’d all be multi-gazillionaires? The truth is that we are wrong much more often than we are right. When you find yourself on the wrong side of the argument, be the bigger person and admit it.