How to be a Professional Salesperson.©
Free Sales Training Video Series – To the best of my recollection.

To the best of my recollection.

Whenever you see people testifying on TV after getting caught doing something criminal they always use the answer to the question of whether or not they knew a fact, with the phrase, “To the best of my recollection.”   Talk about sounding guilty.   This is one phrase you need to completely eliminate from your sales vocabulary.

When a customer says something to you such as, “Susan, you gave us discounts three years ago and said you would give us the same discounts in the future, which is now.”  If you really can’t remember simply say, “Okay, let me go back and check my paperwork to verify everything.”  Nobody will be upset with a business professional checking the history of transactions that involved discounts.  At this point you have not said yes or no to the discounts.  You have bought some time. Whatever you do, whether you think they’re right or wrong, don’t come back with, “To the best of my recollection, those discounts were a one-time concession.”  Or, “To the best of my recollection, I think you’re right.”

Why, you might ask, would I not want to tell them they’re correct right then if I think they are?  It’s because, “Okay, let me go back and check my paperwork to verify everything,” gives you time to:

  • Look and act like a professional.  This builds trust.
  • Come back with a “gift”, if you choose to do so, if the paperwork shows they’re not entitled to the discount or whatever’s in contention.  Sometimes giving a little something is worth it to keep a good customer.
  • Uncover an opportunity to possibly renegotiate a new contract.
  • Think about it for a while.  This is one time you want the ball in your court.

Unfortunately, dishonest people have given the “To the best of my recollection” phrase a bad name.  You can’t do anything about that except avoid it like a verbal disease.

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