Every sales professional wants to know how to acknowledge a customer's concern, so put away the overused acknowledgements and become the standard of excellence by which your competitors are judged! Effective acknowledgments let a customer know we heard them, and what they said is important. Sales professionals have great hearts and truly want to help customers. Our human nature is to want to quickly solve problems, and the result is we sometimes jump into solutions too quickly. The issue is, we have seen this problem before with other customers. We have experiences with our products, services and solutions that can fix the issue we are hearing about, so we start immediately asking questions or offering solutions. But, to build an emotional connection with the customer, we need to take the time and effort to tell him or her that we heard their problem!

What not to say:

  • Please don't say the number one acknowledgement I hear every day‚ "I understand!" I have news for you‚ you don't. You think you do, according to your experiences, but until you ask what is going on, you don't really understand. Not to mention, everyone says this, so you won't stand apart from your competitors.
  • "I hear that a lot" or "I hear you." You just made your customer feel like they are like everyone else you deal with every day. They are special; their problem is unique. You have to let them know you care about what they just said.
  • "Thanks for sharing." This is overused and trite, you don't sound any different than anyone else they deal with.
  • Shake your head up and down, or say "OK," "Right," "Awesome." Those acknowledgements can make customers feel like you are saying "stop talking."

What to say:

First, be genuine. You are letting your customer know you heard them, what they said is important, and you are about to ask questions about what they said. Take the time to understand the issue from their perspective.

  • "X is important," or "It is important you are comfortable with X."
  • "I would like to understand more about X," or "Please tell me more about X," or "Let's talk about X."
  • "Wow, I can't believe you are going to have to X."
  • "That must have been frustrating."

Regardless of the words you choose, be genuine. When a customer presents you with a problem, you have been given an opportunity to build a bond with the customer. Slow down, listen and acknowledge their concerns! Also, don't acknowledge every time a customer speaks. Use it during conflict, to handle objections, resistance, anger or when you are building a new relationship or working on maintaining the relationship. This works in our personal lives as well. Before you enter your next sales meeting, anticipate times where acknowledging a customer in a different way can be used. Give it a try and watch your relationship grow!