How Do YOU Handle a Dumb Customer?

SCENARIO: You're selling an office automation system to a bureaucratic organization inside a large company. You strongly suspect that giving them an automated system will only make it easier for them to waste time and money. The customer, as an entire firm, is already on the ropes financially. You strongly suspect that your system, when installed, might gum things up to the point where they'd go under.

You've warned them of the dangers involved, but they still want to buy. What do you do? Here are your choices:

  • Close the Deal. It's not your problem that the customer wants a product that will probably make things worse. If they think they want it, so be it.
  • Walk Away. Exit the account gracefully after explaining that your company can't really help them. You don't want to drive them out of business.

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The best answer is Close the Deal.

Here's why. It's only your OPINION that they won't be able to use your product effectively. They may have a very different opinion...and they're the people who are going to be using it. As long as you provided them ample warning -- based upon your judgment -- it's your job to go ahead and sell them what they think they need.

I do believe, however, that it is your responsibility to tell the customer that you're not certain that your product can help them, and to suggest that they try something else. But if, after you do that, they still want to buy, you write the order. It's your job.

READERS: Care to argue? I'm pretty convinced that I'm right about this one.