The pushy customer is a sales team’s worst nightmare. But with the right sales training and coaching, pushy customers aren’t obstacles — they’re opportunities. A positive interaction when handling pushy customers can transition from landing big complaints to landing big sales.
These skills take time, but for now, explore these five effective sales coaching tips that can steer difficult interactions in the right direction.
1 Clarity is key
Annoyed customer calls often stem from confusion: a customer thought they were getting one thing, were mistaken, and are now upset. Salespeople can mitigate this by setting clear expectations. Pushy customers will keep pushing because the lines are not clear enough. You can be service-oriented while simultaneously clearly spelling out what can and cannot be done. Set the expectation up front, and the customer will at least have respect for the clarity.
2 Professionalism and sympathy go a long way
At the end of the day, customers want to know they are being heard. Customers may come at you like a tornado with their needs. Keep detailed notes, and repeat concerns back to them as needed to ensure you are interpreting their concerns correctly. Also, don’t be afraid to express your sympathy for the situation they are in — heated customers may be coming to you with strong emotions, and you can temper that with some calmer ones of your own. Kind words, a caring voice, and attentive listening will be your best friend in these conversations.
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3 Know when to give and when to enforce
If you give in to every pushy customer, you may think you are doing some good but really all you are doing is empowering them to keep bullying you into getting better deals and more freebies. Work with your sales team to have a set rubric in place for what interactions necessitate a perk and which necessitate rule reinforcement. If the company made a mistake, that’s one thing — you will have to protect your brand and help the customer out. If the customer is not satisfied with the agreed-upon terms, that is a whole other story — they will have to accept the terms, which you can gently reiterate in a kind tone as to not isolate the buyer.
4 Never resort to threatening
This one may seem obvious, and yet it bears repeating. Threatening a client takes you down a dangerous road. The customer will see that you don’t respect them, they will associate your brand with danger, and you will lose a sale (and likely earn some nasty reviews, word of mouth, and slander on social media). Customers believe that they have power because they are the ones paying; they will begin to either threaten you or plot to replace your services. Do not engage in such rhetoric. Rather than raising threats, seek instead to offer trade-offs and options or have a higher-ranking team member facilitate the call.
5 Maintain detailed records
Records protect the employee: if a manager wants details on a pushy customer, the employee at hand will protect themself if they have notes on the interaction. Tip: take note right away while the memory is fresh, and employees can also protect themselves by notifying supervisors right away of the interaction so everyone is on the same page and there is no room for confusion.
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