Persuasion Techniques to Handle Difficult Customers
By Michael Lee
Persuasion techniques are essential to apply in the field of sales and marketing, as dealing with an irrational customer is one of the toughest situations you can tackle. How do you exactly alleviate the fury of a buyer who is livid because of something you, the service or product, or your company failed to perform? This is where influence and persuasion techniques may come in handy.
Because the field of sales is not a walk in the park, there will be times when you will be shouted at, and even hurled harsh words by clients who are not satisfied. Don't be alarmed. This is a normal situation. And being so, there are ways to rise above them so that you don't break down, too.
First, find out what the client is angry about. Is he complaining about your service? Is he unclear about certain points in the agreement or the product? Did the problem come from you or did it spring out of his frustration over something he misunderstood? What are his sentiments exactly?
You can find this out by being calm with the client, no matter how irritable he is. Ask politely what the problem is and request that he explain it to you. Don't interrupt and try to defend yourself or correct him while he explains. Wait for him to finish and then enumerate all your responses to his problems.
Often, the customer does not really want to know exactly what you are doing to rectify the situation, only that you tell him that steps are being undertaken to correct it, and when precisely this is expected to be solved. One thing clients hate most is continuously waiting for solutions that are not certain to happen.
When you have figured out what he needs, level with him. Building rapport with your client is one of the best ways to get into a straight conversation with him without the flare-ups. This means adopting his current mood. If he is angry, let him know that you understand his feelings. If he is frustrated, empathize. Clients appreciate people who they know feel their pain. When you have succeeded in this, you can expect to have a much calmer discussion right after.
Don't say something like "I'm sorry for that. I'm already on it." Instead, say something like "I understand that you are angry now. I would feel the same if I were you. Rest assured that I will do everything in my power to correct this matter as soon as possible. I will constantly update you of the developments as I progress."
Handling an irate customer is not so difficult if you know how to level with people. Think of it this way. If you were in his shoes, you would be feeling the same way, right? How would you want the other person to face you then? That should always be your guiding strategy. Build rapport with the use of proper persuasion techniques and, together, seek solutions. No issue has ever been solved by an argument.