We all make them. But not everyone understands what to do next. Successfully recovering from a mistake is a simple, three step process.
- Admit it.
- Learn from it.
- Move on.
1. Admit it
Admitting it is sometimes the hardest part. That’s because our egos can sometimes stand in the way. However, admission is step one. It also has the added advantage of making you “human.” The willingness to admit fault is called “personal accountability.” Customers like doing business with salespeople who are personally accountable. Sometimes you have to be accountable for others’ actions. And that’s a tough pill to swallow. Be cautious about it, but be willing to take that step.
2. Learn from it
Learning from your mistake is the most useful step. It allows you to grow as a salesperson. The best way to avoid a mistake is to have made it in the past and learned from it. But that requires taking the time to step back from the situation and asking, “why did that happen?” And “how can I avoid it next time?” Look for opportunities to discuss your mistakes with people who can -- objectively -- help you identify the lessons contained in them.
3. Move on
Finally, moving on is necessary in order to continue progressing forward. Sometimes, depending on your personality, you can get stuck in a rut. Remember the (terrible) movie Groundhog Day? Bill Murray’s character gets stuck in time. He wakes up every morning on the same day. That can happen if you fail to move on from a mistake. As long as you’ve admitted it and learned from it, it’s probably okay for you to move on from it.
It’s important to complete each step before moving onto the next one. If you make a mistake and immediately move on from it, you’re probably stepping on toes and running the risk of upsetting people.