When customer retention is falling or returns and cancellations are increasing it doesn't take a genius to determine something is terribly wrong. The exact reason(s) these bad things are happening may be related to actions taken by someone other than you. It really doesn’t even matter whose fault it is, what does matter is that it’s your bank account that is being negatively impacted.

Your career sales training may not have prepared you for this, but you have one of two choices you have to make. You can either continue to place blame and suffer the negative consequences from another’s actions, or you can accept that another’s actions have really messed things up for you and take responsibility for extricating yourself from these negative consequences. No matter how big a screw up someone else makes there is always a way to turn that screw up into a personal opportunity for you. You just have to find it.

You’ve been through tough times and hard knocks before and you know that your career sales success always come down to the actions you take. Sometimes you are made aware of the stink bomb before it hits your customers, and at other times both you and the customer are blind-sided. Either way when the stink begins to permeate the air and you get your first irate call you have to immediately switch into customer loyalty mode and protect your most important asset, the customer.

Set your ego aside and get to the bottom of the stink so you can take action to overcome it. That means even though this customer wants to end one of your best sales relationships you have to: acknowledge how they feel, accept responsibility and confirm you will get to the bottom of what has happened, and confirm your commitment to do whatever is in their best interest. Plus you need to agree to get back to them within a certain time frame to share what you’ve learned so far. Follow up with them at the agreed upon time even if you don’t know anything more than you did when you agreed to get back to them.

As you’re resolving the issue be thinking how you can turn this into an opportunity. Use your imagination to discover how this bad thing can somehow be turned into an advantage for the customer. It may mean you have to come up with an alternative product/service to meet the customer’s needs, it may mean there was just a misunderstanding caused by someone in your supply chain and you need to come up with a peace offering that builds your relationship and value for the customer, and it may mean you have to come up with a different approach to how your product/service is used or delivered so it better serves the customer. Whatever needs to happen you and you alone have to take responsibility for making it happen so both you and your customer come out on top.

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