Ever made a big whopper of a sales mistake? I sure have! Let me just share one.
When I began selling at Xerox, one of the first things we had to do was to memorize a demonstration script that included everything you needed to know about using a copier. We had to learn it perfectly before we were allowed to make sales calls.
Many years later, I still remember how it started: "Mr. Prospect, for years Xerox has designed copiers to satisfy the needs and requirements of all our customers. Our experience and success in the marketplace has shown that regardless of specific needs, four basic criteria that need to be met – quality, ease of operation, reliability and flexibility.” Not bad, huh!
It took me a long time to memorize it verbatim. But I did. I practiced and practiced. I drove in the car with the script in front of me on the steering wheel. I tape recorded [my speech] as I was driving along.
And finally, I was able to pass the test with my boss. "Mr. Prospect, for years Xerox has designed copiers.... Mr. Prospect, is there any other concerns you have. Mr. Prospect, does that seem easy enough?" And I went through it flawlessly. Which was great because I was finally released to go out to the real world and start cold-calling.
And very shortly after this I schedule my first real demonstration. I was so ready. When he came in, I gave perhaps the best demonstration of my entire life. I nailed that script! At the end, I asked if he had any questions. And he turned to me and he said, "Jill, my name is not 'Mr. Prospect.'"
Now I don't remember if he ever bought that copier or not; all I know is that I was so embarrassed that I called him "Mr. Prospect" that I never made that mistake again.