I've Given Sales Terms That I Need to Go Back On - PLEASE ADVISE!

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by TheHardWay, May 11, 2012.

  1. TheHardWay

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    May 11, 2012
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    Hello All.

    I'm a fairly new business owner, I started my own a few years ago. I have made many mistakes during this time, which I always make sure to find the positive in so I can grow from them rather than dwell on or repeat them. I always put my customers first, as the city I'm located in isn't that large and I want to keep a good name out in the community. I have recently verbally provided another entity with sales terms and a quote to show them the merchandise total price, including the terms we discussed over the phone. They didn't have a problem with the terms that I gave them. I am awaiting to hear back on their credit and they won't be given a quote to actually provide a signature on until a credit determination is made.

    I have made several mistakes with this deal, as it is the largest sale I have made and I'm new to playing in this arena. The first mistake I made was providing terms and not checking credit first, which I can always change the terms easily if their credit isn't where we need it to be, so my problem would be solved in a sense. The other mistake I've made was providing terms that don't cover my costs to my supplier, so if I don't get paid in the 30 days I'm supposed to, my business will have to cover the costs to my supplier. This was the biggest mistake of all and now I'm not sure what to do about it. I have really put myself in a bad spot here and I can't believe that I have done it. You will probably wonder why I'm in business at all if I could make a mistake like this. I feel ridiculous about it, but it's another lesson learned.

    In the best interest of protecting my business, I need to go back to my client and tell them that I can't provide them the terms that we discussed, but I have no legitimate excuse as to why I can't uphold my verbal agreement, other than I screwed up. My client has a large client list within our community and my fear is that I will create a bad reputation for myself if I go back to them and change their terms. I'm not sure what I should do here, so I'm looking for any useful advice any other business owner can provide. Keeping a good reputation is my ultimate aim, but I could really be in a world of hurt if they don't pay me in 30 days and I have to cover them. If there is no good way to go about this and change the terms, then I will have to live with it and hope for the best.

    Thanks in advance for any helpful information anyone can provide.
  2. bburkeconsulting

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    Mar 27, 2015
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    Sounds like a face to face discussion is needed.... I would find someone of consequence (with decision making authority over there) -- preferably someone with whom i already had a relationship -- and explain honestly -- while emphasizing that I am very grateful for their involvement.
    Explain your situation, risks, etc...
    Tell them you would really like to discuss restructuring in a way that is beneficial FOR BOTH OF YOU.... and be very apologetic so it doesn't come across as a bait & switch....

    I'd also consider adding some sort of concession to them as an apology for the mistake.... i.e after the fulfillment of the contract, you'll also deliver x, y, z, extra.... to show your appreciation for their working with you....

    And above all, make sure you tell them you're looking forward to a long-term mutually-beneficial relationship with them; you value them as a client; and you will make sure to do what is right for BOTH of you....

    Good luck!
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