The Customer is not Always Right

Well, you have probably heard the phrase above without ‘not’ too often and from too many sales managers on too many occasions. For years the market has been developed around the customers, making them the central focus of the world of sales. Whatever they said, did or thought was treated as the holy true with which no one could ever argue. And this totally misled hundreds of thousands of salespeople.

Is the customer the most important person in a sales environment? Well, only a fool would try to downplay this fact, because it’s an obvious truth. Take it or leave it but it’s not up for a discussion!

The problem started elsewhere, even though everyone agrees that the buyer is the key persona for the whole process, a lot of us were trained to respond to the customer wishes with the greatest dedication and zero reflection.


And this is not what I call responsible selling and it doesn’t matter if you are talking about B2B or B2C. At the end of the line, there is a human being making a decision and sometimes the choices people make can bring harm to households or companies. If a family guy points at a sports car that costs 5 times his yearly income and asks for this ‘bad boy’, your biggest responsibility is to discuss with the potential buyer whether he has really though over this option and its outcome for the family budget.

Your goal is to help their decision-making process and not to remain only focused on the word ‘purchase’, like a devilish selling machine. If at the very beginning you can see that the choice of your potential customer may lead to their initial very short term happiness followed by years of problems and you do nothing to change their mind, you are not winning a loyal client. You are getting a sale and losing a potential regular customer.

Read more: 6 advantages of constructive feedback


Your leads can be wrong. Dammit, they can be as lost as no one ever has been before! Your role as a good salesperson is to guide them and help them to avoid bad decisions. B2B is all about mutual trust and long-term cooperation. You do not meet these people once in a lifetime – you aim at remaining on the same page with them for years.

If you focus too much on your sales plan, if you look too often into the sales funnel instead of looking at real people and the actual needs of their business, you may win a couple of big deals but you will not build a relationship that will be beneficial for years to come.

While the business is organized 50/50 on answering two questions: where I am today and where I want to get, you need to keep your customer in your mind and at the heart of the whole process. It is a shared journey, during which your clients will sometimes miss the path, try to make the least reasonable decisions and your role will be to lead them out of the darkness not to push them forward as they are about to walk into a volcano.

So your customer is not always right. But if you do not point it out and if you do not help them go in a better direction, it’s you who will never be right. Can you and your business really afford it?


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