I am in sales, chemical commodities, but sales nonetheless. I have a wide range of customers, most of them foreign. Yes there are some difficult ones too.
So the questions beckons: How do you employ the age-old sales slogan of “The customer is always right”, even when they are not? Or how do you manage “The customer is King”, when they act like the joker of the court.
The secret lies in the perception of the customer. The well-known slogan actually has a few words preceding it, that very few people know about. I am about to spill the beans, and probably earn the wrath of the marketing fraternity by doing so. I think it is another life skill that my kids needs to learn, hence appearing on my blog. The full version of the slogan is:
Make the customer believe that he is always right. Make him believe that he is King.
You see this is the trick, even if he is not technically right, he must be sent away feeling that he was. He must feel that you bowed in his presence and he is walking away with the best deal ever. He must have bragging rights to the way that he expertly coerced you into a terrific deal.
When you have achieved that the customer will be back for more. He will want to come and live in his Kingdom for another fifteen minutes, often. Now that the secret is out, the question still remains: How? How do you do it? How do you make them feel special.
Most of the times it is easy as you would be dealing with intelligent people, with some kind of moderate control over their feelings. They want something which you have and if the quality is good and the price is fair then the situation is set.
But in life there are always exceptions, and this is where you will find the pricks. The ones who makes me ask the question. Those crazed people who think the world belongs to them, who walks around actually believing they are superior to the average Joe on the street. They walk around with two chips on each shoulder, the bullies of the commercial world. Like the one I just had a conversation with. Dickhead.
The only way to handle them is to try your utmost not to call them out for what they are. Things like, “Who died and made you King of Idiot land?” or “You have the personality of a rock and if you die of thirst in the desert, I will use the last liquid I have on me to wash my ass before I give it to you” will not increase your sales effectiveness.
I just try my best not to swear at them and be like Peter Pan thinking happy thoughts.
Sometimes, just sometimes, I tell them to go to hell and take their money with them. It has only happened twice, OK maybe three times, fine…four times. Are you judging?
I am a pleasant person, most of the time.