Your b2b sales tip today is to avoid arguing with customers.
I should be able to stop with the opening sentence, however, I have found many b2b sales people who feel being “right” is more important than customer relations. And, my response to this is simple – baloney!
There is a “right” and wrong way to deal with arguments with customers. Let me begin with the wrong way.
The Wrong Way
If you feel you must win by dominating the customer, telling them which side of the toast gets butter, or the plain old – I’ll take my toys and go home approach – then you are doing things the wrong way..
If a customer is angry about something that has happened and the customer feels you or your company one is the reason for their stress – then expect the customer to be demanding of satisfaction.
Satisfaction is the one at the core of the issue. The customer wants to feel good about things again – yet, emotions have gotten out of control and possibly shouting or our old negativity friend – blame – has entered the picture.
It is your job to remain calm and cool during this process. However, beware of appearing arrogant unless you just enjoy having a customer explode on you. And, engaging in telling the customer – they are wrong – is like throwing gasoline on an existing fire.
The Right Way
The best way or the truly right way to deal with an emotionally charged customer situation is to remember the customer is only looking for satisfaction to their current issue. Any additional input just makes the situation complex. Stay on the simple side – help the customer feel good again.
The key skill for you – the b2b sales person – is to remain calm and quiet! Yes, I know remaining quiet is tough for some if not all b2b sales people – however, this is the right course of action.
You want to stay in listening mode and agree with the customer’s feelings. In other words show an empathetic side so the customer feels that you are trying to understand their pain. Acknowledge any parts of their story as you can as it allows the customer to feel you are on their side (even if you are not on their side completely.)
The principle here is to place yourself in their shoes and look at the situation from their point of view. This simple tactic can help you to relate to their pain. This allows you to feel their pain and then assist in getting them back to customer satisfaction.
When you are empathetic and remain calm, you get points from the customer that will count toward rebuilding any trust issues with your company. The important thing is to totally listen to the customer vent their frustration or anger without judgment or arguing any point.
After the customer has run out of steam, they usually are more relaxed and open to suggestions or questions leading to ultimate solutions.
Remember you are responsible for the degree or elevation of anger a customer has during these emotional times. It is more important to listen, be empathetic, agree with or acknowledge the customer’s feelings than to win the battle of viewpoints.
The Sales Superstars
The Sales Superstars always do more agreeing than arguing which leads back to the customer feeling the sales superstar is on “their side” even if they are not. Remember, perception is the reality for people. Therefore, if the customer views you as supportive and understanding – that is their reality.
Manage the perceptions people have of you and you will win more often in the b2b sales world. Listen and guide the flow of the conversation to a positive ending.