Dealing with Difficult Customers

Written by Dave Kahle

Dealing with Difficult Customers

Copyright 2002 by Dave Kahle

It is easy to work with people you like, and it is even easier to work with people who like you. But that's not alwaysrepparttar case. Sooner or later, you'll have to deal with a difficult customer.

Difficult customers come in a wide variety. There are those whose personality rubs yourepparttar 127260 wrong way. They may not be difficult for someone else, but they are for you. And then there are those who are difficult for everyone: Picky people, know-it-alls, egocentrics, fault-finders, constant complainers, etc. Every salesperson can list a number ofrepparttar 127261 types.

But perhapsrepparttar 127262 most difficult for everyone isrepparttar 127263 angry customer. This is someone who feels that he or she has been wronged, and is upset and emotional about it. These customers complain, and they are angry about something you or your company did.

There are some sound business reasons to become adept in handling an angry customer. Research indicates that customers who complain are likely to continue doing business with your company if they feel that they were treated properly. It's estimated that as many as 90% of customers who perceive themselves as having been wronged never complain, they just take their business elsewhere. So, angry, complaining customers care enough to talk to you, and have not yet decided to take their business torepparttar 127264 competition. They are customers worth saving.

Not only are there benefits to your company, but you personally gain as well. Become adept at handling angry customers, and youíll feel much more confident in your own abilities. If you can handle this, you can handle anything. While any one can work withrepparttar 127265 easy people, it takes a real professional to be successful withrepparttar 127266 difficult customers. Your confidence will grow, your poise will increase, and your self-esteem will intensify.

Onrepparttar 127267 other hand, if you mishandle it, and you'll watchrepparttar 127268 situation dissolve into lost business and upset people. You may find yourself upset for days.

So, how do you handle an angry, complaining customer? Let's begin with a couple tools you can use in these situations.

1. RESPECT. It can be difficult to respect a person who may be yelling, swearing or behaving like a two-year-old. I'm not suggesting you respectrepparttar 127269 behavior, only that you respectrepparttar 127270 person. Keep in mind that 99 times out of 100 you are notrepparttar 127271 object ofrepparttar 127272 customer's anger. You are like a small tree inrepparttar 127273 path of a swirling tornado. But unlikerepparttar 127274 small tree, you haverepparttar 127275 power to withstandrepparttar 127276 wind.

What isrepparttar 127277 source of your power? Unlikerepparttar 127278 customer, you are not angry, you are in control, and your only problem atrepparttar 127279 moment is helping him with his problem. If you step out of this positioning, and start reacting torepparttar 127280 customer in an emotional way, you'll lose control, youíll lose your power, andrepparttar 127281 situation will be likely to escalate into a lose-lose for everyone. So, begin with a mindset that says, "No matter what, I will respectrepparttar 127282 customer."

2. EMPATHY. Put yourself inrepparttar 127283 customer's shoes, and try to seerepparttar 127284 situation from his/her perspective. Don't try and cut him off, don't urge him to calm down. Instead, listen carefully. If someone is angry or upset, it is because that person feels injured in some way. Your job is to letrepparttar 127285 customer vent and to listen attentively in order to understandrepparttar 127286 source of that frustration. When you do that, you send a powerful unspoken message that you care about him and his situation.

Often, asrepparttar 127287 customer comes to realize that you really do care and that you are going to attempt to help him resolverepparttar 127288 problem,repparttar 127289 customer will calm down on his own, and begin to interact with you in a positive way.

Here's how you can use these two tools in an easily-remembered process for dealing with angry customers.


Image that you have a hard-boiled egg. The rich yellow yolk atrepparttar 127290 center ofrepparttar 127291 egg representsrepparttar 127292 solution torepparttar 127293 customer's problem,repparttar 127294 hardened white which surroundsrepparttar 127295 yolk representsrepparttar 127296 details ofrepparttar 127297 customer's situation, andrepparttar 127298 hard shell represents his/her anger.

In order to get torepparttar 127299 yolk, and resolverepparttar 127300 situation, you must first crackrepparttar 127301 shell. In other words, you have got to penetraterepparttar 127302 customerís anger. Then you've got to cut throughrepparttar 127303 congealed egg white. That means that you understandrepparttar 127304 details ofrepparttar 127305 customerís situation. Finally, you're atrepparttar 127306 heart ofrepparttar 127307 situation, where you can offer a solution torepparttar 127308 customer's problem.

So, handling an angry customer is like cutting through a hard-boiled egg. Here's a four-step process to help you do so.

1. LISTEN. Let's say you stop to see one of your regular customers. He doesn't even give you time to finish your greeting before he launches into a tirade.

At this point, about all you can do is LISTEN. And that's what you do. You don't try and cut him off, you don't urge him to calm down. Not just yet. Instead, you listen carefully. And as you listen, you begin to piece together his story. He ordered a piece of equipment three weeks ago. You quoted him X price and delivery by last Friday for a project that's starting this week. Not only isrepparttar 127309 equipment not there, but he received an invoice for it at a different price than was quoted.

"What kind of shoddy operation is this?" he wants to know. Do you understand how important his project is? Do you know how much time and money is at stake? If he doesn't get his equipment and something happens to this project, you're going to pay for it. He knew, he just knew he should have orderedrepparttar 127310 equipment from your competitor. What are you going do about it?

Now you haverepparttar 127311 basic story. Hopefully, after this gush of frustration, there will be a pause while he comes up for air.

Direct Selling in Today's Tough Markets

Written by Terry Edwards

Interviewer - Jan Howard

[Jan] Terry, I know that you have some very strong views on repparttar need for salespeople to modify their sales techniques to cope with a changing market. How would you summarise this?

[Terry] OK Jan, first let me ask you one quick question and then I'll give you an answer. Can you think of anything at all that hasn't changed a lot inrepparttar 127259 last 10 years or so?

[J] No, I can't.

[T] Right! My first point is that selling has changed a lot as well. And yet, many sellers seem to refuse to accept this. They plod on with selling techniques that they were taught 5, 10 or even 20 years ago. They are so "off-beam" with what they are doing, that it's no wonder that their results have continued to decline. Of course, many will justify this decline by reasoning that there's more competition,repparttar 127260 economy is in poor shape etc

Smokescreen excuses for sure -repparttar 127261 problem lies very squarely withrepparttar 127262 seller and his way of selling ie his methodology. He must change to adapt torepparttar 127263 changes inrepparttar 127264 market and repparttar 127265 changes inrepparttar 127266 buyers. He must realise that, for many direct sales businesses,repparttar 127267 market has changed dramatically inrepparttar 127268 last few years, let alonerepparttar 127269 last 10 or 20! Mr Prospect is now very well informed. He has "Watchdog" and "Salesmen from Hell" type programmes onrepparttar 127270 TV. He has consumer reports from magazines such as "Which?" and he has built up an armoury of information provided by trade journals,repparttar 127271 internet and his friends and neighbours.

[J] Are you implying that it's changed forrepparttar 127272 worse?

[T] No, but I'm saying that Mr Prospect is a changed man. He will eat salespeople alive given half a chance. Long gone arerepparttar 127273 days ofrepparttar 127274 tough sellers taking candy from a baby. Today's buyers have teeth!

And it's these teeth which have scared many a salesperson and nudged them into giving up and returning to a regular 9 to 5 withoutrepparttar 127275 stress they were getting inrepparttar 127276 sales arena. In fact, around 60% of those who take on a direct sales position will quit within 6 months!

[J] So, is direct selling today still a worthwhile career?

[T] That's a 100% YES. For sure it's a tough job and is not for those who freak out when they hearrepparttar 127277 word "No". But, it's a wonderful career with very high rewards for those who get their act together.

[J] You've said thatrepparttar 127278 buyers today are now much tougher and much more informed - so what is it that stopsrepparttar 127279 seller being better informed and tougher?

[T] Nothing at all! Butrepparttar 127280 problem is that many still expect to carry on withrepparttar 127281 knowledge bank of 10 years ago, with old hat techniques and a tendency to work with crossed fingers!

[J] What is it that gives salespeoplerepparttar 127282 most problems?

[T] The part ofrepparttar 127283 sales process that createsrepparttar 127284 most problems isrepparttar 127285 "close" -repparttar 127286 bit whererepparttar 127287 seller says "OK, let's get this going Mr Buyer" and Mr Buyer tries to wriggle away from making a decision! It's eyeball to eyeball psychological warfare. The seller must getrepparttar 127288 order to earn his commission. The buyer wants to be 200% sure he's doingrepparttar 127289 right thing.....

[J] But, surely closing has always been a problem area for most sellers?

[T] That's true, but what I'm saying is that 10 years ago you might have gotten away with sloppy technique, but today you just cannot. In fact, most folk who've leftrepparttar 127290 direct sales arena, would invariably tell you thatrepparttar 127291 actual job was fine,repparttar 127292 product was great,repparttar 127293 company was marvellous but they just couldn't get on with THE CLOSE! That horrible little monster that consumes salespeople!

[J] Do salespeople actually admit this to you?

[T] Too right! If I've heard this tale once, I've heard it a thousand times!

[J] Are you layingrepparttar 127294 blame atrepparttar 127295 foot ofrepparttar 127296 seller?

[T] Not really. Many times it's not his fault. He may have been trained by his well-meaning sales manager who was trained by his sales manager who was trained by his sales manager, and so on.... You could be talking of technique and methodology that's 30 years old here! Andrepparttar 127297 poor seller is sent out inrepparttar 127298 tough markets of today and told "Go for it!"

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