It’s Not the Customer’s Fault – by Doug Rice

Sometimes, life is frustrating. Problems follow you wherever you go. They get under your skin and you can’t shake them. You’re irritated–angry, even. And this can greatly affect your work in sales. It’s one thing to say you’ll leave your baggage at the doorstep when you go in to meet with a client, but it’s another thing to do it. Our frustrations come out in our demeanor, in poor language choices, or even in downright outbursts. No matter what, though, we must keep in mind that it is not the customer’s fault. Whatever is going on in our lives has nothing to do with the person we are sitting in front of. We must never take it out on the customer!

Are you frustrated with your family? It’s not the customer’s fault. The customer has a family too. Surely they have problems, but they are not letting that get in the way of doing business. You shouldn’t either. Be professional. The person sitting in front of you deserves it for giving you their time. They have nothing to do with your difficulties at home. Don’t treat them like they do.

Are you frustrated with your colleagues? It’s not the customer’s fault. The people around you are supposed to be your team. Regardless of the department they are in, they represent the company you are striving to get business for. They should support you. But the reality is that they often don’t. It’s frustrating, but it’s not your customer’s fault. Don’t make excuses to your customer about who didn’t provide you with what when. They don’t care. It’s not their problem.

Are you frustrated with the economy? It’s not the customer’s fault. Times are tough right now, but the last thing you want to do is upset a customer with your cynicism. Show your customer that you are grateful for their business and that you are going to do everything humanly possible to earn it. Don’t make them feel unimportant by going on and on about how down business is right now. They feel like they are paying a great amount for your product or service. Let them know you are appreciative, not despairing.

Are you frustrated with yourself? It’s not the customer’s fault. When you’re in front of the client, it’s time to put the self-help book away and focus. Sure, you want to be more confident, more knowledgeable, and a better communicator, but save it for your down time. When you are engaged with a customer, it’s not about you. It’s about them. Stop freaking out about how bad of a salesperson you are and focus on how good of a customer they are. Focus on their needs at the moment; you can deal with yourself later.

Are you frustrated with your customer? It’s not the customer’s fault. All buyers are liars. A customer is a customer is a customer. FALSE. Just because many of your customers are jerks and frankly not good fits for your company, that does not mean that the person sitting in front of you fits that mold. Do not treat them like they are bad customers until they give you a reason to. Begin every relationship with a customer assuming that the customer is someone worth creating value for. When you’re in front of a single customer, none of the other customers matter. That customer is your only customer for the moment.

Sales is not a profession for displaced aggression. Customers are our life. We are there to serve them. No matter what weight is on our shoulders, there is none greater than letting them down. When we fail our customers, we fail ourselves. We cease to be value creators. We rob our customers of the value we could contribute if we were focused on them rather than on ourselves. And we rob ourselves of the opportunity to be the people who create that value. What’s going on in your life? Whatever it is, save it for the therapist. When it comes to the customer, you are there for them.


Doug Rice is the small business storyteller, a digital media marketing consultant that helps small business people connect with current and potential customers and enables them to tell their story in an engaging manner. He creates and collects helpful resources for small business folks at his website,


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