The Customer is NOT Always Right

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You’ve heard it a million times: the customer is always right.

But in B2B sales, that age-old saying simply isn’t true. Potential customers don’t always know what they want or even need – and sometimes they’re completely and utterly wrong.

You’ve probably tried to sell to a prospect who insists his business is doing fine without the product you’re selling. He might not even understand what you’re offering and won’t realize how much he really does need it unless you change his mind. It’s up to the salesperson to set the prospect straight, and explain – carefully and politely – why he’s totally wrong about what his business needs to succeed.

Here’s how to teach customers to accept that sometimes, they’re NOT right.

Understand the Prospect’s Business

At the start of your relationship with a new prospect, you should be asking a lot of questions to better understand his specific business challenges. The best sales reps are great listeners who can draw a prospect out with questions and find out details about his business. You’re aiming to understand:

  • The prospect’s personal pain points
  • The most pressing challenges facing the overall business
  • Whether your product can solve those problems

During this discovery process, you should be building rapport, earning the prospect’s trust, and beginning to understand the challenges he is facing each day. Using this information, you can then compare the prospect’s business to past customers’, and explain how other people have used your product effectively to overcome those same challenges. Show him that he’s not alone in this struggle, and that you understand exactly what he’s going through each day. Hopefully, the prospect will be more willing to consider your opinion once you demonstrate your depth of knowledge about the business and industry.

Be a Challenger

What if the prospect continues to deny that he has a problem, and refuses to believe that your product can offer a solution? In this case, you have to push back against the customer in the style of a challenger, as outlined in the Challenger Sales Model. This methodology explains how the best sales reps are able to respectfully, but strongly, disagree with prospects about key points.

After you’ve listened to the prospect and understand his business, you may have a better idea of how to fix his problems than he does himself! As a sales rep, you are the expert about your specific industry. You can act as a consultant and advisor to the prospect, teaching him new information. You may actually know the business problems he is facing better than he does, and can push him to think about the problem from a new angle. Don’t just accept that everything he says is right – challenge him to think differently.

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Guide the Prospect to Buy

Once you’ve challenged the prospect to see his business in a new light, he’s ready to take the next step. You can begin to guide him through the buying process step by step. Once he admits that he may be wrong and may need some help, it’s much easier to offer your product as the solution. Now is the time to break out your killer demo skills, show off all your best capabilities, and get the prospect excited about using your product. At this point, the only logical move is to buy. Once you get to this point, you have won a sales champion to your side who will work hard to advocate for your product internally. After that, it’s just a few more steps to get the entire team on board and ready to sign a PO.


If you follow this guide closely, you will be able to convince prospects that they are wrong about what their business truly needs. With the right technique, you can turn that realization into a Closed-Won deal.

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