Get your customers saying "that's right," instead of "you're right"

A big part of being successful in sales is ditching your ego. It's a lesson I have continually learned the hard way, but always for my eventual betterment.

As humans, I think it is pretty normal to naturally want to be the expert who can solve all of their problems - especially in sales where I have a solution that will do just that! The issue with being an "expert" instead of a "trusted advisor" is the fact that things are always more profound to a person when they feel they discovered it themselves, thought of it themselves, said it themselves, rather than being told it.

Unsuccessful salespeople push people in buying. Good and fairly successful salespeople use questions to pull someone into a solution they have a good idea they need, but usually at a discount or some other concession. The jedi salespeople do neither of these. They use questions that have the prospect leading the way and follow the prospect to the destination of the sale (and do a much better job than myself at it). I'll break this down more in another post soon.

When recapping what we've learned about goals, challenges, solution requirements, metrics for success, and more, I've always found The Mantra that I was taught in Command of the Message to be the most effective way to deliver back the information the prospect gives you in a concise way that makes them feel understood. Sometimes, based on call flow or time constraints, there isn't time to recap each section fully, and we're put in a position to instead make a more general statement to summarize what the customer told you.

When this happens, it's important to speak in terms of them, and still use the words that they used. If they hear what they said and that I listened, what I should hear back is "that's right". If that's what I am hearing, the client still feels in charge of making this change happen, as though I feel they are competent to make the right decision, and that I understand their pain and what they perceive to be the remedy.

It's not the worst thing in the world, but what I want to avoid is restating it in my own way or interjecting what I believe to be the best idea, causing them to say "you're right". I may be right, but if it comes out of my mouth it's a suggestion and if it comes out of their mouth it's a fact to them. I prefer to deal in the facts stated by the customer as they seem to have a much more profound effect and put your champion in a position to feel empowered to fix the problem they are now owning (and happen to understand a lot better if discovery went well).


  • Joe Huber
    Joe Huber Member [Pro], Administrator Posts: 163

    This is so awesome, @David Chimenti! Thank you for sharing!

    I know that when I'm buying software, I'm always keen to listen for suggestions, but you're right. When it's my idea (or I think it is, anyway), then I'm more likely to fight for that idea as part of the negotiations.

  • David Chimenti
    David Chimenti Member [Pro] Posts: 38

    Agreed. If they take ownership of the business issues, solution requirements, and positive business outcomes, it becomes their solution - not mine.

  • Rachel Clapp Miller
    Rachel Clapp Miller Member [Pro], Administrator, Moderator, Super User group (not at launch) Posts: 40

    Such a great post @David Chimenti - we always say, people rarely argue with their own conclusions. How can you get your customer to conclude that you're the right solution? Required capabilities aligned to outcomes! Always best to use the customer's words as they'll identify with them more. Just worked on a deck last week where we were reframing all the bullets to be what they said, not what we would say….

  • Avery Brockwell
    Avery Brockwell Member [Custom Team] Posts: 11

    Thank you for sharing! I agree that it is natural to want to feel like an expert who can solve the issue! I am more likely to buy or do something when I believe that it was "my idea"!

  • Gavin Weitendorf
    Gavin Weitendorf Member [Custom Team] Posts: 10

    Thank you for sharing. This way of selling and talking to the consumer seems to be based on the idea that you need to make the customer feel like they thought of the idea or product that you are selling them. Instead of going and telling them exactly what they need and don’t need the seller needs to ask pointed questions in order to drive the customer to the idea or product that is being sold to them. The most important part of this is to make sure that the customer feels like they are talking to a trusted adviser and a friend instead of a stranger who is trying to sell them a product.

  • Joe Huber
    Joe Huber Member [Pro], Administrator Posts: 163

    @Gavin Weitendorf Preach!!! Daria Morano shared a story during the "Selling to the COO" event that was all about how she saw a salesperson be just absolutely genuine and authentic to build exactly this level of trust. We used it as the Community Clip this week!

  • Timmy Cotton
    Timmy Cotton Member [Custom Team] Posts: 11

    I like that you emphasize the need to put ego aside for sales success. I believe sales is no place for ego as each side is trying to be benefited from this. It's crucial to be a trusted advisor rather than just an expert. Using questions to help clients discover solutions and actively listening are a large part of effective sales.

  • Devin Teal
    Devin Teal Member [Custom Team] Posts: 9

    I agree and thank you for your post! I also believe that salespeople must put their ego aside. You want the customer to feel as if they had the idea. We don't want to tell the customer what they want, but have them tell us.

  • Josh Auger
    Josh Auger Member [Custom Team] Posts: 10

    I agree 100%! It's best to have the customer believe they came up with the need for something, rather than the seller (us) telling them they need something!

  • Emily Erickson
    Emily Erickson Member [Custom Team] Posts: 11

    Awesome post! I agree, it is a good feeling when the customer knows they have the need for a service or a product rather than them walking away wondering "why".