The customer is always right? Are you sure?
For over a century now the maxim ‘the customer is always right’ has been exhorted as, maybe, the guiding principle of retail customer service. But what if it’s not always the case? What happens when the customer is completely, utterly, and undeniably wrong? Should you tell them ‘no’?
The question of when and how to say ‘no’ to customers isn’t straightforward, and with good reason. In an industry built on communication and relationships, ‘no’ is a word that can completely change the direction of a potential sale. Sales pros are often concerned about saying ‘no’ to customers, because of how they think the customer will respond. But, despite that hesitation, there are times when you may need to refute a claim or lead a customer in a better direction.
Still, it’s a sticky wicket to be sure. So, how do you say ‘no’ while still providing value to potential customers? Try these on for size:
When: Your product or service doesn’t have a specific feature or benefit.
How: Ask follow-up questions and offer an alternate solution or recommendation.
Customers evaluating your products or services are likely to ask questions about features and benefits. Sometimes what you’re offering will fit, other times it won’t. However, just because a product or service doesn’t check one of your customer’s boxes, doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be ruled out entirely. Talk with your customer about why a missing feature appeals to them or what problems they’re trying to solve, then use that information to course correct and provide alternatives.
When: Your product or service isn’t right for that customer.
How: Offer a reason why an alternate option is in their best interest.
You can’t be all things to all people – neither can what you’re selling. If you truly think your product is a mismatch for a customer, it’s okay to transition them to a retailer that can meet their needs. Although you may lose the immediate sale, putting the customer’s needs first will demonstrate the value you put on the relationship and possibly lead to future interactions.
Context, resources, and alternatives – all keys to effectively using a ‘no’ during a sales opportunity. At Fortegra, we pride ourselves on providing training that allows partners to better manage situations just like these. It’s all part of how we help both partners and their customers Experience More.
Have you deftly handled a ‘no’ scenario recently? Share it with us on Twitter @Fortegra.