(Republished from the Evolution Africa blog. Evolution Africa is a consultancy formed by a passionate, committed and talented group of highly successful professionals whose focus is on introducing global best practice across Africa.)
There’s a reason why the common saying the customer is always right. Of course logically the adage holds no water because the customer is, in fact, sometimes (even often) wrong. But the customer can never be made to feel wrong.
1. Wrong = negative
When trying to make a sale, a salesperson tries as hard as possible to get the customer to say “yes” as many times as possible and to keep the conversation as agreeable as possible. He, the salesperson agrees to everything – even when he disagrees! For example:
Client: so, if I were to buy 2 of these instead of one you can give me a 40% discount on one, right?
Seller: why that’s a great idea! But tell you what – I need to be in business tomorrow so I can bring you some more wonderful things so let me give you the very best offer of 10% off if you pick both.
The point is, the conversation stayed positive even though the customer made an unreasonable demand. No = no sale; yes = sale!
2. Customer has options!
In the 21st Century, regardless of what one’s business is, there is a lot of competition. Even worse is that unlike a few years back, when the competition was down the street, nowadays the competition is halfway across the globe – and often they barely speak english!
Because of all of the options that a customer has, a supplier cannot afford to be arrogant or aloof – even when dealing with an unreasonable customer.
3. The customer has influence.
Research has shown that a lot of people depend on word of mouth when making decisions on which supplier to use. Despite the fact that advertising has proliferated every aspect of our lives – TV, Radio, online, billboards etc, we take the word and endorsement of someone we have met much more. Its a question of trust.
As a seller treats the customer as king, the customer is disposed to brag about the wonderful experience they had to their friends, many of whom take the endorsement seriously.
The nature of the relationship is not one of equals. The seller/ supplier is a servant of the buyer. The most successful businesspeople are those who realise that early and no matter how successful they get, never forget this.