You’ve certainly heard the expression ‘the customer is always right.’ It’s one of the oldest axioms in the world of sales and service. Many do balk at this idea, however, declaring boisterously that “I’ll always tell a customer they’re wrong if I know they’re wrong.” In the recent Wings Mobile Detailing podcast, I explain why this mode of thinking is totally wrong headed. It is my contention that the best way to get on top in the world of sales is to always agree with your customer.
I can already sense many of you out there shrinking back at the idea of “always agreeing.” Hear me out before you judge. I’m confident than when I fully explain my case for consistent agreement with customers, you’ll see things differently.
“Always Agree with the Client” Does Not Mean “The Customer is Always Right”
First of all, it’s essential that we separate these two expressions. When we say “always agree,” what we’re referring to is maintaining an attitude of positivity and friendly service, even when you know that the customer is either incorrect or even being unreasonable. The goal of this approach is to maintain a positive atmosphere whether or not you manage to finalize the sale.
“The customer is always right” seems to indicate that you should do anything the customer wants, regardless of reality or truth. Your goal here is focused on providing your product or service to this customer at all costs. If you’re against this idea, then I agree with you. It’s both unreasonable and unwise, but “always agreeing” is quite different.
Scenario: Price Reduction
Let’s look at a typical scenario where we can apply this logic. Imagine you have a customer coming to you for a car detailing service. They may call you up to make inquiries, having seen your website or social media pages. First, they express their admiration for your service quality and apparent results. After that, they proceed to explain how they’d like that same high-quality service but for a big discount. Let’s say they want 50 percent off.
In your head, you’re thinking “No way!” but this is exactly what you shouldn’t say. The most natural reflex is to disagree and tell the customer why they’re wrong to ask for this price. What you should do is teach yourself to agree and see things from the customer’s perspective, while also denying them this request. You would start by telling them that you acknowledge and understand their requirement, and that you’d be more than happy to provide them a service, and even meet that price point, but just not quite on those terms they describe. You could explain that you’ll provide the service under new terms at that price, perhaps removing certain aspects to make the lower price work.
Do you see? By agreeing, you aren’t acquiescing to the customer’s demands, and more importantly you are not devaluing your service. By agreeing, you are maintaining a positive attitude, engaging with the customer and trying to demonstrate understanding and sympathy to their point of view. At this point, two things in our scenario might happen:
1) They take on board what you’ve said, and agree to your suggested parameters, at the same time feeling like they are getting the better deal.
2) The customer gets increasingly irate, demanding the price point they suggest and refusing your suggested changes.
In the first instance, we have little to worry about. The customer believes they have won, and you have secured a sale and more potential to grow your business reputation. Even better, you’ve grown professionally and personally.
In the second instance, we have to fight hard to stay positive and not fall to the temptation of our base instinct, which is to respond with anger and impatience. The best thing to do is continue the helpful, agreeable tone. You could, for example, point them to other services in the area whose price points are closer or in line with what this client wants. You could even put them in touch directly by giving them a contact number. This feels counterintuitive but once again, two possible results emerge:
1) The customer relinquishes, and agrees to your modified deal, or better because they know they want a quality service over price.
2) The customer takes your suggestion and finds an alternative, meaning you get to avoid doing business with a potentially difficult customer. Sometimes that’s better in the long term for you as certain clients can prove a bad fit and bring more headaches than their money is worth.
It’s about “Positivity” and not “Surrender”
In the scenario above, a wise man and a fool would take opposite approaches. The wise man is usually the quiet and agreeable person. The fool has a big mouth. The wise man deals with a difficult customer by being agreeable, positive and friendly, even when the customer may not. Even in the event of losing a sale, the customer has nothing they can take away to say badly about you. The same cannot be said of the fool, whose abrasive style wastes time and energy for no benefit at all in the long term.
The fool who spends energy trying to prove the customer wrong will only end up with no customer, no sale and potentially a bad reputation. The wise agreeable person will likely end up with everything they want, but even if they lose the sale, they retain their reputation, and are ultimately happier and more positive in their daily life.
Agreeing with the client is not about giving away ground. In fact, the opposite is true. Always agreeing with your customers is about taking charge; taking responsibility of the narrative and creating productive and ultimately positive results. Nothing bad can come from this approach, but it does take practice and will-power. Overcome your base instincts and make this your new modus operandi. You’ll start to see the benefits sooner rather than later.
Don’t be the foolish “victim” of disagreeable customers. Be the wise victor with the solid-gold reputation and happier life!
Check out where Andre Mezalira covers this topic in his PodCast below: