Tell us your new business horror story

We all have one.  That painful, horrifying moment when you were trying to sound/look your best in front of a potential new client and instead POW! fate smacked you right in the kisser with a faux pas that will haunt you for the rest of your days.

Come on…tell us all about it.  It will feel good to get it out.

Me first?  Fair enough.

Several years ago, a McLellan Marketing Group colleague and I were in an initial meeting with the CMO of a nursing home system.  We’d done some research and one of the facts we’d gleaned about this potential client is that they were known for taking care of the most severely affected Alzheimer’s patients. 

What made their work even more remarkable and reassuring to the families of their patients was that they very rarely sedated the residents.  They were just that skilled in dealing with the behaviors and health issues of these residents.

So I am trying to demonstrate how smart we are and that we’ve really done our homework.  So I say to the CMO (a woman in her 50’s who wasn’t so sure about us already)  "one of the things that really impressed us about your facilities is the fact that you don’t sedate your patients."

Unfortunately — that was what I meant to say.  But somehow, for some twisted and unknown reason, my mouth decided instead to say…"one of the things that really impressed us about your facilities is the fact that you don’t seduce your patients." 

Picture_2_8 To this day, I have no idea why that came out of my mouth.  But to make matters worse, I could not locate the word sedate in my brain. Instead, I stammered and stuttered until finally, what seemed like 20 minutes later, my brain synapes finally fired up, I corrected myself and limped through the rest of the conversation.

Needless to say, we did not get the business.  My team, however, got a funny story that they love to pull out at company parties, and other  public venues.

Okay, I’ve shown you mine…your turn!

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5 comments on “Tell us your new business horror story

  1. Erin Blaskie says:

    Well… I received an invitation to go to a client’s office to meet their team and my main contact so I packed my bags and flew to North Carolina.

    I flew through Chicago and as I would soon find out, my bags decided that they wanted to visit Chicago instead so they didn’t get on the plane with me.

    When I arrived in NC, it was late – around 11pm and I had no bags. Since this was my first business trip, I didn’t know to pack some clothes in my carry-on or to wear business attire so instead, I wore jeans and a sweatshirt.

    The airport gave me a little emergency kit with a toothbrush and a comb but the next morning I had to go into the office in my jeans, sweater, no makeup, etc.

    Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling in a state of confidence so all I day I walked around, telling my lost bags story, apologizing for the way I looked instead of focusing on the reason I was there.

    Now I pack clothes in my carry-on and I wear business attire.


  2. CK says:

    Love the graphic – ha!

  3. Erin,

    I think that is one of allof our nightmares — traveling and not being properly attired for any of a dozen reasons.

    In January, I flew to Denver to speak to a large group only to discover that I had forgotten to pack socks. All I had were the white athletic socks I had worn on the plane.

    With black trousers — not so attractive. So then I had to decide…white socks or no socks. Ugh.


  4. Lewis,

    Wow…do I feel your pain. And as I have read and re-read your story, I can’t see one spot where you could have seen it coming.

    I’m curious — what fail safes have you now put in place (if there is such a thing) to best attempt to avoid this happening again?


  5. CK —

    I thought you might!


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