Sales training can prepare you for a number of scenarios, but only experience can truly arm you against difficult customers. Difficult customers come in many different forms, no matter what industry you work in. Follow some of our simple tips and check out our business seminars to keep your cool when dealing with a tough client and improve your sales skills.
Listen Patiently and Be Empathetic
There’s nothing like expressing a concern only for it to fall onto deaf ears. When speaking with an upset or difficult customer, try to remain open and truly listen to what they have to say. They may be upset because they feel like their voice hasn’t been heard. By listening, you build trust and confidence instead of fighting back with more words.
It may be easy to dismiss a customer’s concerns or request if they’re being difficult. But remember, people always have their own reasons for being upset. What upsets you might not upset your coworkers. While listening is important, you don’t always need to help them with words. Keep an open mind, open body language and use small verbal cues can show them that you’re listening. Repeat their points back to them, so they know you understand.
Speak Softly & Slowly
As a salesperson, you represent your company. If you match a difficult customer’s tone, you may only upset them further and hurt your company’s image. If you act just as difficult as your customer, they will think you aren’t listening or don’t care about their problem. By maintaining a calm, collective attitude, you give them a baseline to work from. When they see that you aren’t alarmed by the issue, they will likely lower their defenses. Additionally, when you refuse to add to their own emotional chaos, they become easier to handle.
Picture an Audience
It might be easy to lose your cool around a tough customer if you’re alone. But think if your supervisor, other clients or fellow salespeople were around to see it. Even when a customer comes to you with a big problem or a big attitude, you need to represent your company well. You should maintain an air of professionalism that would impress your other customers as well as tell your difficult client that you can handle the situation. If you picture an audience in your head, it helps you hold yourself accountable for what you way and how you speak with this difficult person.
Don’t take it personally
If your customer asks for something you can’t provide, it isn’t your fault. As long as you stand your ground, treat them kindly and patiently while listening to their problem, you’ve done your part. Whether they understand that or not, anything they say to you personally is actually directed at their own frustration. If the customer resorts to insults, try to ignore them. We all say things we don’t mean when we’re upset.