How to Say You Are Sorry

Inevitably, at some time or another, you are going to have to say that you are sorry. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, saying your sorry is simple (which is not the same thing as easy).

Start by saying: “I am sorry.”

Then say: “I understand how what I did hurt you.” Or: “I understand how what I did caused you __________ .”

Then: “To fix this, I am going to _______________.”

Then: “To make sure this doesn’t happen again, I am going to _____________ and _____________.”

Finally: “Your relationship means a lot to me, and I want you to know that I am sorry and I do intend to make this right.”

Your customers and prospects don’t expect you or your company to be perfect. If you sell B2B, your clients are dealing with challenges of their own. Because they are not perfect themselves, most of your customers will forgive you if you follow the formula:

Say you are sorry.

Acknowledge how what you did hurt them.

Tell them what you intend to do to fix it.

Then tell them how you will prevent it from happening again in the future.



  • Business Communication

    Excellent. I would also add that one defeats their purpose if you add extra sorry’s after telling the client what you are going to do to fix the issue in the future. By repeatedly apologizing, you lessen the value of the apology and you also force them to recall how badly you acted. Apologize quickly and emphatically. Everything after that should be about the solution and other opportunities to work together.

  • Robert Coorey

    I agree. Salespeople are often too proud to admit any mistakes and will try to cover up their mistakes or pretend there was no mistake at all. Even worse, sometimes they are aggressive towards their customers!

    I have always found that being honest and open about your mistakes is the best sales strategy.

    Great Advice.

  • Business Communication

    Sales is about convincing someone else to trust you. It is sometimes taken out of context as – “trust regardless.” Quickly admitting error and noting how you will adjust strategy to improve (without gushing with apologies), establishes more credibility and trustworthiness with a client.