“Open mouth, insert foot.” It’s a saying used to describe what happens when we say something that we should not have-maybe it was inappropriate, hurtful, embarrassing for either party, or just awkward.
When is the last time you wished you could take back something you said? Is that even possible?
In sales there are traps that may lead to us wanting to take back what we have said:
- We are excited or passionate with what we want to share and blab, blab, blab
- We get defensive when we hear an objection and blab, blab, blab
- We become uncomfortable or impatient with the silence after we ask a good question and blab, blab, blab
The problem is…we can never take back those words, and more importantly the reaction to them.
What can you do after you’ve said something you wished you hadn’t verbalized?
- Offer a sincere apology. Use the words “I’m sorry for _________.” or “I apologize that I __________.” Include specifics on what you did.
- Use humor. With the right person and in the proper context self-deprecation is helpful. “Oh, there I go again talking too much.” or “You would think this is the first time I’ve had the chance to say this.” or “You can tell by how fast and enthusiastic I just explained that how much I believe in it.”
I’ve found that admitting something you did wrong can be a powerful leveler in a relationship. The more human you are, the more your buyers want to work with you.
A final tip: If you want to avoid having to apologize or the other tips— slow down! Take a breath, pause, and think before you say anything. (Easy in writing, not so much for all of us in practice, I know.)