Is The Customer Always Right?


At times the customer wrong.

Sometimes they don’t even know what they want. This is where you have the opportunity to educate.

A great example is airline travel.

The Airline Customer is Wrong

Airline travel is a great example. Despite what customers say, they have spoken with their wallets. What they say with their wallets is very different than what they say with words.

When people fly, it’s inevitable they are going to complain. But let’s be honest, flying is a terrible experience.

Although it is a pretty amazing feat, sitting in a seat in the air, making trips people used to die making (please see Louie C.K. for a hilarious explanation).

But, contrary to popular belief, airlines really listen to their customers. So much so, that they redesign planes for customers based upon what they are telling them with their wallets.

An example of this is passengers are always complaining about leg room. The feeling is that passengers are cattle in the air. So, airlines redesigned planes to give people more leg room. With that increased leg room prices went up. Customers said they were willing to pay more for more leg room.

What was the result?

Customers still went for the lowest price tickets without regard for the leg room. The customer said they wanted more leg room, but what they really wanted was the lowest price.

In this example, the customer was wrong in explaining what they wanted. The customer is not always right, despite what they are telling you.

How do you determine what the customer wants?

A few ways to determine the truth are:

Discovery Period

The discovery period is essential. This is where you have the opportunity to ask questions and determine what the customer thinks they want. If you ask the right questions, then you will get to what will actually get the customer to buy. Asking the right questions is the most efficient way to get the customer to tell you the truth.

Patience Is A Virtue

Exercise patience in the sales cycle. Unfortunately, patience is not in the DNA of most Sales Professionals. It can be developed and is a skill worth developing.

To determine whether your customer knows what they want, you need to spend enough time in conversation to get them to open up.

I know from experience this may not always be possible. But, unless we take control of the conversation and the sales call, we will never have the opportunity to stay in discovery period.

Patience will keep you in the discovery stage long enough to determine the truth.

The Trial Close

Utilizing the trial close is a great way to qualify the potential buyer to see if they have given you the real reason they will be purchasing.

The intent here is to know that you are going to be going back into discovery when you get the no answer. This is the sales conversation game that we all play.

The customer may believe they are always right. But, with the correct discovery questions, patience, and using the trial close, you can determine what the customer really wants.

Good luck and good selling!

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