Five Tips For Training Your Sales Team To Handle Bad Customer Behavior

Five Tips For Training Your Sales Team To Handle Bad Customer Behavior


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Almost every leader is familiar with the golden rule “the customer is always right,” however, almost every sales executive has experienced a situation when the client simply behaves badly. What are the main principles to guide you in such cases? How can you continue to act professionally and train your sales team to maintain the reputation of the company and resolve the situation? 

As an active participant in negotiations and sales processes myself, I collected the most valuable insights on how to act in the instances when the client is not right. This instruction can help young sales executives to improve their sales tactics. Also, it could be used as a reminder of sales basics for high-level executives.

Listen To Your Client

This is one of the most important points. Every customer unhappy with the results or with the processes wants to be heard. In about half of the cases I’ve experienced, the customer understood something as wrong. And after you listen to their version of the story — you could easily react, taking appropriate actions to resolve the situation.

Provide An Explanation

If you are just at the beginning of your career and not sure about the situation or appropriate replies and reactions — it’s better not to act spontaneously. You can always ask your more experienced colleagues to help you to handle the situation. Sometimes a customer doesn’t realize they misunderstood an agreement or the terms. For example, executives sometimes sign contracts without reading them closely. Then, a legal department might verify it before the CEO simply signs it. In a few months, a manager of the company reaches out to you asking for work that is — per the contract — considered to be extra.

Following my practice, as soon as you show the contract and the point stating that you are right — the issue will be resolved and a decision would be made whether or not to pay extra for the additional work. All you need to do is to show proof. For this purpose, try to keep important agreement details either in emails, or even better as appendixes to the original agreements.

Watch Your Tone

In any situation, no matter as unpleasant it may be, stay calm and polite. The situation will be resolved, but emotions will remain. No one will benefit if the client feels accused or targeted. Bad reviews don’t help businesses to bloom.

Stay Flexible

Despite different scenarios, if you cannot persuade the client you are right, try to find some other middle options to resolve the issue. Indeed, it is sometimes worth it to provide your customer with something extra just to keep them. There’s not a need to confirm whether or not they are right, but expressing something like “We highly value your company as a partner and would be happy to move forward in agreement on the following … to show we care and want to help” will support a proper handling of the situation.

Don’t Take It Personally

Train your sales team that at work you are representing the company, acting in accordance with the company’s philosophy and guidelines. Don’t take any customers’ requests as personal. Even if you think the client sounds irritating or even rude — keep in mind, they are not rude particularly to you but addressing a company representative. And as per many company guidelines, you should act disrespectfully. Losing customers is always a pain for every business. All you have to do is smile and start with a phrase, “I can hear you and am terribly sorry you faced this situation. Let me check what I can do to help you with the resolution.”

Training the sales team on how to respond professionally in sensitive situations is hard daily work. It’s important to not take things personally and not react rudely, all while listening to your customers and improving your company’s processes. All of which should be delivered in a respectful tone. The highest level of professionalism requires resolving situations in the best company’s interests, putting customers’ concerns as top priority and doing everything possible to satisfy the client while resolving any sensitive case.

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