The way you interact with customers during your sales pitch can have a lasting impact and forge a positive or negative brand reputation.
The last thing that you want to do is use a couple of problem words in your sales pitch approach and mess up your chances!
‘Sorry. Forgive me. I sincerely apologize.’ Phrases such as these may end up doing more harm rather than creating a positive impression on your clients. So make sure to keep your sales pitch techniques creative, impactful, and avoid using any customer service apology phrases.
Here’s What Not To Say
Salespersons always want to win the battle of words. They go out of the way to sound positive and create a meaningful rapport with customers.
Well, all that is good, but make sure not to apologize incessantly to your clients, as it will get you nowhere. Surprisingly, research has revealed that most sales professionals do not hesitate to apologize to customers during calls. In fact, 57% of all sales calls use apologetic language in some form or the other.
There is no need to apologize to your customers. You may feel that it helps to build trust and makes clients forgive you; rather, it eliminates any kind of sincerity at your end.
When Is It Alright To Apologize To Clients
You may wonder if there is any right time when you can apologize to clients. Well, there is actually only one correct time when it’s OK to apologize to customers – when you use an apology as a strategic and persuasive tool!
Tactical apologizing is not just saying, “ My bad, forgive me” or “ Oops, I made a mistake, Sorry”. It is a strategic approach, hence should be used sparingly. The final aim of tactical apologizing should be to convert a sale or bring a customer on board to your organization.
Do not make the mistake of underestimating tactical apologizing – it is used only in 13% of all sales calls, and leads to a 5% increase in the close rates. Here are three ideal scenarios when you should use tactical apologizing phrases during your sales pitch approach:
1. To Soften Up A Challenge
A salesperson’s prime job is to overcome customer difficulties and solve their problems seamlessly. So it is all right to apologize if you have to help a customer manage a problem, and often a challenge.
Let’s understand better with the help of an example. A customer may have a problem with the cost of your product, or may already have a similar product that they have purchased.
In such a case, you may use an apology phrase in your sales pitch to help them overcome the problem, yet close the sale such as “ I’m sorry, but have you considered the benefits that you will receive despite the high cost” or “ I apologize for pointing out, but our product is completely different from what you have.”
This kind of apology will help to open up your customers to new ideas, and will definitely ensure that you end up closing more deals on a positive note. It comes in a non-threatening environment, hence will enable clients to lower their guard and accept your point of view.
It’s ideal to use tactical apologies when a client has a radically contradictory opinion, and you want to guide them towards your product or service in a skilful manner.
2. When You Genuinely Mess Up
It’s important to remember that salespersons are also human – they mess up and make mistakes. Make sure to own up when you genuinely make a mistake and do not feel guilty if you need to genuinely apologize to a customer.
You do not need to over-apologize when you make a mistake, or it will seem pointless. Keep it simple and to the point. You may try something like, “ I’m sorry, I was not clear in my last sales call. I meant something else –let me try to explain better.”
When you tactically apologize for a mistake, it evokes a strong sense of empathy in your clients. They realize that you are ready to take responsibility for your errors, and most of the time, they do not mind giving you a second chance.
Honesty is an essential trait of a good salesperson that is necessary to achieve long term success. Do not ever think twice to apologize if you have made an error or said the wrong thing during a sales pitch. Don’t worry, your clients will believe you, and still buy from you – it will lead to better trust in the relationship and help to build a sense of brand credibility.
3. While You Negotiate
As a salesperson, there is no doubt that you often have to conduct tough negotiations. It’s not always a bad thing to apologize during some negotiations; rather, it can be used as a strategic tactic to encourage the flow of communication smoothly.
While using an apology phrase during negotiating is all right, make sure never to apologize for your product or its final price. For example, “ I’m sorry, I would really like to help you, but it’s simply not possible for my organization to reduce the price any further – it’s definitely worth the cost!”
Apologizing during a negotiation deal can help you steer the conversation towards a positive direction, and lead to a win-win situation for both parties. So, don’t think twice before you go ahead and apologize, but also remain tough and hold your ground while you try to work out a mutually acceptable outcome!
Learning is all part of the game – as a salesperson, you will understand the best situations to use customer service apology phrases and when to avoid them. Keep trying to refine your sales pitch techniques so that you get better at winning over customers and making them loyal advocates of your brand. Believe in your actions, be persuasive – just avoid saying sorry when there is no need!