Is the customer always right?
Around two decades ago, it became popular to train employees that the customer was always right. This mantra helped to swing the pendulum from seller dominance to customer dominance. For a long time Nordstrom’s was synonymous with this philosophy. While some men were guilty, it was mostly women bought a dress for a single occasion, kept the tags, and then returned that dress with no questions asked. I have even seen a half-eaten cake returned to Costco. And they took it! Unfortunately, the pendulum of customer dominance at times has swung too far and created unreasonable customer expectations. While being buyer centric is valid and important to success in sales, to experience a smooth sales process, perhaps we should revisit the concept of every customer always being right.
While we should treat all prospective buyers as a valued customer, should all customers always be right? Increasingly, some of the most demanding customers are the least profitable. If companies bend over backwards for these customers, it will not be long before they completely erode your bottom line. I am sure every front line sales professional as well as management can convey more than one story about a demanding buyer who wants it all at no cost to them. You give them ‘x’, and they keep coming back until they get at least ‘3x’. In the end, that type of customer will never be satisfied.
If you train your people to differentiate between right-fit and poor-fit customers and to limit the investment in poor-fit customers, you will spend your time and energy where it belongs. Your right-fit customers will create enthusiasm and you will easily connect with them. Surprisingly, they will also cost you less in both time and money. The right customer will always be right.
The poor fit customer will always be a challenge. They want more incentives no matter what you offer. Customer service efforts will never satisfy their perceived construction flaws. They will always want you to make the exception to your policies just for them. Sometimes these requests come in waves of questions and other times they come at you by incessant demands. You will never connect with this customer and tensions will sabotage all efforts to meet their needs no matter how hard you try. We can’t ignore this type of customer because in the end, we need to sell product. However, we must learn how to deal with them as efficiently as possible. This type of buyer will drain your energy, zap your enthusiasm and devour your time. I think we have all experienced the type that makes you scream and pull your hair out. Front line sales must be friendly but firm with this customer and reasonably explain why a specific demand cannot be met. And with a smile on your face! The ultimate hat trick by true sales professionals is to make this customer believe they are right without caving to their every whim. As we continually say, the profession of sales is never easy.
When you are ready to assess and evaluate your sales team, shop your competition or conduct a pre-hire, make sure you contact LeBlanc & Associates. You can be assured we are the right fit for your company’s needs. Give us a call!
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Top 10 Best U.S. Cities for Female Entrepreneurs
Intuit.com examined America's 48 largest metros to see which are best for female business owners. They looked at the percentage of businesses owned by women (‘% Women' below), businesses per 100 residents (‘Biz/100R'), income and education level. Here's what they found:
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|10.||30.7%||10.3||San Diego, CA|
|SEEING IS BELIEVING. Eliminate the doubt. No matter what the market conditions may be, a community’s success ultimately relies on the quality of the sales agents. Video Profiles from LeBlanc & Associates capture each agent’s sales presentation, the good and the not-so-good, through the eyes of the buyer.|
|CONFIRMATION:You must confirm your site sales staff is selling at peak performance. Accepting mediocrity or less is never acceptable.|
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