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Customer Is NOT Always Right! Live your own life and run your own business By Ken Keis Opinion : A view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter; belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge; a formal expression of judgment. Yes, there are times when our clients have concerns, such as a package arrived damaged or later than we promised, to which we need to respond. In workshops during the height of the customer-service trend in the early ‘90s, I actually taught that the customer is always right — but no longer. Who has your ear? Who is providing you with feedback? Several years ago during one of our Assessment Systems Certification workshops, an individual shared that he did not like CRG’s leveraged referral business model. He was so upset that CRG would pay him a fee for his referrals, he asked for his money back on the session. He thought it was unprofessional to honor others with a referral fee. Should I change CRG’s business model because of one contrary opinion among hundreds of positive ones? Of course not, but sadly, many people would. Here’s another example. One of my colleagues, a member of the National Speakers Association, had just completed a keynote address — 1 of about 50 a year for which he is paid a significant sum — when an audience member approached him and started on how she could help him with his speaking style. If I wanted your opinion, I would have asked for it! Is it possible that the speaker does not want to change his style? After all, his style is why the decision-maker paid him a significant amount to speak. And why did that total stranger think it was appropriate to share her thoughts without asking permission? It appears that almost everyone has an opinion, and through social media everyone is quick to share theirs, but few are qualified to provide one. Have you changed your business model (or direction of your life) because of other people’s opinions? What would your life or business look like if you changed it to fit everyone’s (in many cases, unsolicited) opinion? You certainly would not be living your purpose. That is why the customer is not always right. People have issues and we want to do right for them, but we can’t own their stuff. The research shows that no matter how gifted a presenter you are, about 5% of any audience is not going to like you. Yes, we want everyone to like us, but that’s not going to happen. About 20 years ago, I stopped using participant evaluation forms with a numeric 1-to-10 measuring format or any mention of the lunch and the facility. I found a high percentage of the group was more interested in complaining about the lunch than addressing the workshop content. The session was about sales, leadership, communications, living on purpose, and so on. The lunch had nothing to do with behavioral transformation! In one workshop, I got both these comments. * Best presentation on Sales that I’ve attended in my 20 years in this industry. *Worst presentation I have ever attended. Interactive Whose opinion matters? Neither! In the end, you must feel comfortable in your own skin. That’s why Self-Worth is so important to our success. If we constantly change because of others’ opinions, we stand for nothing. Not only does “the customer is not always right” mindset apply to sales and customer service it applies to all areas of our lives. My point is this: No matter who you are, or what you do, unsolicited opinions and comments will be offered. Many will have no merit and should be completely ignored. That includes “well-meaning” family members and friends who are judging the way you “should” run your life or business. Unless the advisor has a track record of success in the exact area you need, why would you listen? Here are some examples. • An average or below-average sales representative tells the sales superstar how to improve his/her sales performance. • Someone who has no children tells you how to parent. • An individual who has had no success in investing tells you how to invest your money. • A career counselor who dislikes his or her job is counseling you on how to live your life on purpose. • A person who has never been successful in business tells you how you should run your company. • A marketing specialist who is struggling for business themselves wants you to hire them. • An individual who has never supervised others tells you how to lead a team. In the end, you must live your own life and run your own business. Don’t let dysfunctional clients, individuals or uninformed family and friends inject their opinions into your space. Be respectful, but simply say, No! That’s why I stopped seminar evaluations altogether. The only feedback I need is from the decision-maker who invested in my session. Unless you are one of my trusted advisors, I am not interested in your opinion about my presentations. After 26 years and 3000+ presentations, I know myself. I have my own personal style and I am not going to change — nor should you —just because a minority did not like something. Of course, I am not suggesting that legitimate client concerns be ignored, those should and need to be addressed. But sometimes you have some very high maintenance customers and the reality is that you really need to fire them. Their expectations, and your ability to provide clash to a point where the only way to resolve your differences is to part ways. I encourage everyone to stand in your personal and professional space with confidence. You can choose to seek wisdom from others, but you must be watchful of the qualifications of your sources. When you are confident and clear about who and what you are, others’ opinions will no longer impact you. You don’t need validation because you are secure in yourself. And negative feedback will not take you out. And this is certainly true of sales professionals. Review the action steps to confirm possible items where you can improve and not let others drive your agenda in life. sales and service excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 03.2015 Submit your Articles 7


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