Customer Experience News & Trends

11 statements you never want to make to customers

The right statements close sales and start building relationships with customers. But the wrong ones kill all that – and more.

Here are 11 statements you should never make to customers or prospects:

  1. “I don’t agree with what you’re saying.” There’s nothing wrong with offering an opinion in the give-and-take of sales presentations or when helping a customer with a problem. But it’s usually not a good idea to pass judgment about what a prospect or customer is saying. Try to accept ideas that are presented to you with complete neutrality. By not taking sides or expressing opinions, you may significantly reduce the number of pointless arguments some people accept as a normal way of doing business.
  2. “My competitor has a terrible quality reputation.” Destructive comments run the gamut from jabs at competitors or unkind remarks about former customers. They almost always turn a prospect off. A good way to cure this habit is to ask yourself whether the comment will help your customer, your company or the person you’re talking to.
  3. “But, have you thought about … ?” Starting a sentence with “no,” “but,” or “however,” no matter how friendly the tone, tells the prospect that he or she is wrong. It’s a good idea to avoid using these words especially in a first meeting with a prospect.
  4. “My customers rely on my expertise.” Telling the prospect how smart we are usually backfires. No salesperson will do this deliberately, but it’s possible to develop bad habits that deliver the message. When salespeople nod their heads impatiently when a prospect is talking — or drum their fingers on the table — they’re sending a message that they don’t want to hear what’s being said or they already know it. In either case, they’re insulting the prospect.
  5. “I can’t accept that statement.” When sales or service staffers get angry, they’re usually out of control. It’s hard to move the customer relationship forward under those conditions. The worst thing about anger is it stifles a person’s ability to change or adapt to new circumstances. And once someone gets a reputation for emotional volatility, they may be branded for life.
  6. “I’d worry about that decision.” Demonstrating negativity is a sales and relationship killer. Negative people are incapable of adding something complimentary or positive to any comments or suggestions from prospects. It’s a major annoyance for prospects, because no one enjoys dealing with negative people.
  7. “I’m not at liberty to divulge that information.” Intentionally withholding information from a prospect or customer is the opposite of adding value. Instead of inspiring loyalty with prospects and customers, it’ll arouse fear and suspicion.
  8. “I knew that decision would work.” We all get upset when someone steals the credit for a success we created. It produces a bitterness that’s hard to forget. Prospects get upset if the company they’re dealing with does the same thing. Make a note of every time you congratulate yourself on an achievement, large or small. Ask yourself if there’s any way possible that someone else might deserve some of the credit. It might be another customer who gave you a referral or someone in your organization that helped close the sale. Let them know.
  9. “We’ve learned that our way is the best way.” Some people enjoy living in the past, especially if it enables them to point to past successes. But customers don’t want you to dwell too much on the past. They want to know what’s going to work in the future.
  10. “I think I know what you’re saying.” Prospects may tolerate all sorts of rudeness, but not listening to them is not one of them. When you’re not listening, you’re sending out a lot of negative messages.
  11. “That’s not my responsibility.” A person who can’t shoulder the blame is not someone who generates confidence in prospects or customers. No matter how much they think they’re saving their own hide, they’re actually killing any hope of a long-term relationship when they refuse to accept blame.

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