Share a Failure Story to Build Empathy and Trust

We have a great story we’d like to share with you this week. It’s one by Aaron Kotick, Fusion Learning Canada’s President.

“One of my favorite Fusion training programs is StorySelling. In the program, we teach salespeople and sales leaders how to craft and tell great stories as a way to communicate with prospects and colleagues. The program covers 4 types of stories you can share: success, failure, fun and legend.

I’ve taken the training myself, and am going to share one of my favorite failure stories. Failure stories are a great way to build empathy – nobody likes to fail, and people feel for you when you tell one. It’s a way to build trust and connections. I use this one with my sales team to communicate to the importance of thinking twice before saying something. Coincidentally, my team loves telling my story to their clients.

The name of this story is ‘I am not a car guy’.

Early in my career at Fusion, I landed my first meeting with an executive at General Motors. I was excited because Fusion had never done business with GM. Not only would they be a high profile client, but they would be a huge account, with over 400 dealerships in Canada! I decided to bring my colleague Scott with me. We prepared meticulously for the meeting and were ready for our presentation.

The meeting was great. We asked some thoughtful questions, got some excellent information and found a couple of sizable opportunities that we were excited to pursue. The meeting went so well that the executive took us on a tour of the lobby, where they have several models of the first cars GM ever built on display. Now, keep in mind, I’ve told you I’m not a car guy. But caught up in the moment, looking at an old, beautiful car from the early 1900’s, I turned to the executive and said “Hey, I know that car, it’s a Model T!” He paused, scowled, looked at me with disdain and said, “Actually, it’s a Buick. The Model T was made… by Ford.”

We left the building almost immediately after that, tails between our legs. Despite several attempts to reconnect, we never heard from the executive, or anyone else from GM again. I am still not a car guy, but now I do know when I should say something – and when I shouldn’t.”

Scott Gilmore

Scott Gilmore is the SVP Sales and Marketing of Fusion Learning Inc., recognized by Selling Power as one of the Top 20 Sales Training Companies in North America.
For more information, please call Scott at 416.424.2316

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About Scott Gilmore

Scott Gilmore is the SVP Sales and Marketing of Fusion Learning Inc., recognized by Selling Power as one of the Top 20 Sales Training Companies in North America. For more information, please call Scott at 416.424.2316

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