Daily Writing Prompt: Humble Pie

Tell us about a time you found out after the fact that you’d been mistaken and you had to eat a serving of humble pie.

When I started my small business career, I started out selling mobile applications and credit card processing for a tech company out of Colorado. The company had very little training about their products and sales of the mobile applications was like the wild west. The sales technique was to say yes to everything and then let the developers make it work. Obviously, not a good sales technique.

My second mobile app sale, (I only had four before I quit pitching the product), was to a coffee shop in a small town near where I live. During the sales pitch, the owner asked if we could take orders through the app and print them to a printer in the coffee shop, so that the workers could easily get the order and fulfill it. Going with all my training, (wink wink), I said “Sure! We can do that.” He immediately said great, signed all the paperwork, and development ensued.

Well, it turns out the mobile app company had no way to develop an app that could print orders to a kitchen printer. The only way they could send orders was via email.

Fuck….

Luckily the company worked with me and vowed to figure out how to send the orders to the application. Unfortunately, I still had to go back to the owner and explain my mistake. He was super understanding and seemingly thankful that I owned up to the mistake.

However, the real humble pie eating comes in for the next year. The application company could not figure out how to make it work. The business owner had an unusable app that he was paying a monthly fee on plus the initial development coasts. Needless to say, he was pissed!

Once a month or so, he would call me to get an update and, unfortunately, I had no updates for him. For whatever reason, he stuck it out with me for a full year before his mobile app was up and running with a printer.

I learned three things from this experience…..

  1. Do not sell shit you know nothing about – If I had known more about the product and what could be done, I would have never sold the application to him and subsequently put him through a year of uncertainty and feeling like he got screwed.
  2. Do not avoid giving people updates – I avoided calling him after the initial humble pie eating. I was afraid of the confrontation. This was a huge mistake. In hindsight, I realize I made him feel like he made a huge mistake purchasing the app. If I had simply kept in touch with him and let him know I was doing everything I could, he would have been a happier customer.
  3. If you sell products for someone else, you must believe 100% in the company and the product – This is the reason I no longer push the mobile applications. When things went off the rails my reputation was the one that suffered not the development company. No one knew who they were. I must trust the company 100% or be the one that makes the decisions before I take that risk again.
Double Bicep Pose White

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