Preventing Your Customer Making a Mistake

One of the basics of consultative selling is to ensure that you build a strong relationship with your customers. Despite doing this, your relationship can become strained when a problem arises because of something the customer has done that has subsequently caused them problems.

The difficulty arises because the customer dislikes taking the full blame for the blunder he or she has made. This is human nature: how many times do you meet someone who will freely admit to being a less than perfect driver? We all find it hard to be the one in the wrong - and our customers are no different.

Customer generated problems can arise due to the customer making assumptions. For example, the customer has misunderstood an agreement and so assumed a service which had not been promised by you.

Sometimes problems arise because the customer has ignored one of the instructions for use of a particular product and as a result has caused damage to an expensive machine.

In such situations the customer will usually argue strongly that you, the sales person, and your company share some (or all) of the responsibility for the problem the customer has created: “You should have told me...”

Since prevention is so much easier than cure, as part of your consultative selling process you must do everything within your power to prevent your customers from making mistakes. The following three tips will help you do this:

1. Ask control questions at regular intervals during your sales presentation. Control questions allow you to confirm that the customer is clear on what has been discussed and agreed. For example: “Have I explained the context clearly enough? Do you have any further questions on this subject?”

2. Explain every verbal and written agreement and every promise you have made point by point and ask for the customer’s consent to every point.

3. Insist with the management within your company that any complicated, misleading or hard to read instructions for use or operation of the products you provide are rewritten in plain language.

The above three points will help prevent customer mistakes from spoiling the relationship you have spent time building and so losing you future sales opportunities.