>Someone told me some years back something that etched into my being: “The customer is not always right, but they ARE the customer.”

All of these thousands (maybe millions) of companies globally shutting down faster than the instant news media can (or will) cover it. They’re blaming ownership, boards, financing, shipping costs, taxes, lack of regulation, etc. Sure, they each play a part, especially ownership/management. That’s why in sports, they fire the coaches first when a team sucks consistently.

I heard a retail employee say recently, “Our sales dropped 30% from last year. Right around the time we got a new manager. A meaner manager. The one before went to Austin, now HIS store sales are up from last year.”

That employee believed it was the new manager’s fault. I don’t know his management style, maybe it is. Same team members, dropped sales. After being in direct sales for eight years, I believe the customer plays the biggest role. Sorry, yep–it’s your fault.

We know longer have any brand or store loyalty. They’re trying. Spending millions to try and create it, but we don’t want it, or buy into it.

We don’t buy anything to keep it anymore (as a majority rule). With the disposable mentality, all that matters is the price (not value) to us “in that moment”. In fact, I’ve seen that price is SO important, some people actually go to the effort to price shop… mostly older people.

I could be making so much more money in my business if I would just do what I’m supposed to be doing… selling more policies than I sold last year, and the year before that. Don’t worry (spent unpaid time) about the service end. I just truly believe that your customer (right or wrong) deserves to see you alot with any issue… even if it’s “all good, just saying hello”.

Technically, I don’t get paid extra (short term) to stop and service current clients. How many car sales people could make a living if they had to leave the sales lot or floor to go back to the service area and do an oil change for a former car buyer (and not get paid to do that)?

I also gravitate to prospects that appreciate that ‘service after the sale’ mentality. I have thousands of clients, no way that I can keep in touch with them pro-actively… but all of them (should) know that when any issue arises, I’m a phone call away. And most of the time, the issue is “a customer fault”… a misunderstanding, a fight with their boss so they need to yell at someone else, a bad day, etc.

It is my fault when the kid at the Taco Bell counter got my order wrong. It doesn’t help that he was texting some friend during the order, but I’m a picky eater. I can never order what’s on the menu. So, some of the time, the order isn’t right. “I asked for no sauce on THAT burrito, and no cheese on those Tacos, and no tomatoes on that supreme taco”. Let’s stop and send it back.

I think that’s why “all you can eat buffets” are big money makers, fast turn around meals. The customer gets to choose exactly what they want–pay in advance. The investment has been made… I’m committed. What goes wrong from here is my fault.

In my business, when it comes time to present our products to employees, I will ask the employer, “any employees I need to know about?” They reply, “What do you mean?” “You know, there is always one or two employees that need extra attention, more time to understand and grasp things, stuff like that.” They give you a grin, knowing you mean ‘the trouble maker’ and list off a few names. When they sit in front of me, I give them that “extra attention”. If I can tell they’re not in any positive frame of mind to deal with me (or anyone), I let ’em know “in order to understand the value and benefits of what we can do for you, I’ll need you to spend some time with you… now isn’t good for you I can see… let’s get you to sign a waiver for now, maybe next year when we come back, you’ll have more time to hear what’s offered here.” 99.9754% of the time (I’m guessing here), most people ‘snap out of their funk’ and say, “no, no, that’s all right… I just don’t understand this stuff. I don’t want to mess with it or feel stupid.” The good agent replies with, “I hear that alot… heck, I have to take insurance courses every year to keep up with it so it can be confusing. If you have the time, I believe I may be able to help you understand what we do, if not, that’s fine, you can sign a waiver and our time together is over.”

If they say up front, “now’s just not good, let me sign something saying I don’t want it”, I comply. There IS next time. After 2 or 3 missed opportunities, most appreciate the ‘no pressure approach’ and join soon anyway. Long term thinking here friend. But again, I don’t get the immediate sale BECAUSE OF THE CUSTOMER, not me. I could just mow ’em down, like they do at a lot of retail stores. But a bad experience costs you a sale, and cost them a great value opportunity. THEIR FAULT.

It’s too late. The economy is in the tank. Too many of the money getters have taken the short-term approach. And we CUSTOMERS bought into it. I want my home now, I’ll figure out how to pay for it later. I want my SUV gas guzzler now, I worry about the environment and fuel costs later. I want my cheap chair, cheap MP3 player, cheap web phone NOW, worry about it breaking (or not working properly) later.

I have some friends that are in the car business. Have been for many years. Someone said to me about one of those friends, “they must be doing something right, they’re still in business.. doing well (ok, this was 2 years ago mind you)”. My reply to his shock was, “They’re selling cars mostly to soldiers. By the time those poor customers realize they spent too much for too little car, they’re already back home in California or Indiana.” What are they gonna do, come back here and demand a refund? CUSTOMER’S FAULT.

Do you know why most scams go unreported? Victims don’t want to appear stupid. THE CUSTOMER’S FAULT.

Just like my past posts about JK Harris. Sure, they didn’t hold up to their part of the agreement, but it is still my fault for:

1. Not knowing my tax obligations when self-employed
2. Not paying my quarterly taxes on time the first couple of years
3. Waiting until the IRS found me (it took them about 3 years to reach me via mail)
4. Not researching my options for payments to the IRS (pride)
5. Allowing a TV commercial to convince me it wasn’t my fault (they’re selling GUILT RELEASE) and that someone else would do the work I didn’t know how to do or was too intimidated to approach.
6. Not asking questions. Letting things happen to me and accepting my fate. Guilt. Ignorance. Pride.


Fear and pride ARE THE CUSTOMERS FAULT… and a well-paid sales person knows how to profit from that. I wish sometimes I had it in me, but I’ve been on the other end… and it sucks. You ARE NOT always right, but YOU ARE the customer. Next time, remind your seller of that.

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