No, the customer is not always right. Here’s why.

Question… when there is a disagreement between you and a customer that threatens the contract, how do you resolve it?

 

Or, when a prospect is pushing a one-sided agenda on a big deal, what do you do?

 

I’ve seen a lot of salespeople and startup leadership alike consciously or subconsciously turn to this century-old adage for guidance:

 

“The customer is always right.”

 

While I know firsthand how easy and relieving it can be to heed this advice when the pressure to close the deal is on, I can say with certainty that it’s also the worst to fall back on in moments like these.

 

There are a couple of reasons why I know this is the case, several of which have been reinforced by experiences I’ve had throughout my career. That said, here are three reasons why this is a proverb to forget.

 

There is such a thing as bad business.

 

This phrase “the customer is always right” was popular among retail moguls like Marshall Field back in the early 1900s. And while its intentions were good (to encourage a higher level of customer service), even as early as 1914 people were pointing out its fatal flaw: it assumes that customers are always honest or realistic.

 

Don’t get me wrong… I always assume the best about people until proven otherwise. But you and I both know neither of things is always true.

 

I find this is the first thing many salespeople forget when a deal is on the line and the prospect is demanding. But the truth is, it’s ok and even good for you to push back when the other part