3 Mistakes to Avoid When Dealing with a Disrespectful Customer

catapulting commissions sales talk with anthony garcia

It's easy to make these mistakes when things get tense

Have you ever found yourself in a sales situation where you’re working with the prospect and you realize the level of respect between you and the prospect is starting to decline? Maybe the prospects being rude to you. Maybe they’re being short with you. Maybe that are just being a jerk in general? Look, it’s going to happen. In sales or any business you cannot avoid running into some people who are jerks. It is what it is, so it’s best to be prepared for it. Here are the three mistakes you need to avoid when dealing with a difficult prospect or customer. These tips are applicable regardless of where you are at in your journey with a customer. Whether it’s a new prospect or a long-time customer, these three mistakes need to be avoided when you’re in a challenging conversation with someone who, let’s be honest, pays the bills and helps support your business.

Don’t get into a pissing contest

The best way to upset an already-upset customer is to get into a pissing contest. If a customer starts getting disrespectful don’t say something like this: “I’ve been doing this job for 20 years, and no one has ever had this problem before.” Or “Out of the thousands of customers I’ve signed up over the last 10 years, I’ve never had this issue.” Nothing good will come of these statements. These statements are braggy and arrogant. They look like you lack the basic people skills necessary to be effective in sales. Trying to flaunt your credibility in a tense situation makes you look worse and it’s self-serving. They will do nothing to diffuse the situation.

Don’t pretend like it’s not happening

The second mistake to avoid when you find yourself dealing with an arrogant or rude customer is don’t pretend like it’s not happening. Don’t act like the person is not being rude. Instead, have a clear conversation with this person and lay out the concerns as they happen. This is what I like to say: “Excuse me, Mr. Jones. I apologize. I might have given you the impression that we were going to have a disrespectful conversation. If I’ve disrespected you in some way, please let me know, because I got to be honest with you. The tone you’re using right now is a little disrespectful. I would rather us take a few minutes and walk away. Then let’s come back and change the direction of this conversation.” This is real sales accountability. It is as clear and professional as it gets. Remember this. You value your customers business, but you do not need their business. There will always be other customers. Do not allow a prospect or customer to disrespect you because it will not serve you well in the long run.  

Don’t take it personally

The third mistake to avoid when a customers is disrespecting you is don’t take it personally. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen sales professionals and business owners take the conversation personal. They get angry, they start cursing, they start yelling, or they take it so personal that they allow it to ruin their day. If you want to be a killer in sales, you have to have thick skin. When someone is disrespectful to me, I view that as an opportunity to bring joy to this person’s day. I’m going to kill this person with so much kindness because I’m certainly not going to let a disrespectful customer ruin my day. The moment I’m done interacting with someone who is disrespectful, I put it behind me. I’m not going to let the person ruin my day because at the end of the day, you still are who you are in your core system. So don’t allow a disrespectful customer to take you out of the mental state you’re in. It is not personal.

If you need help in this area or you’re concerned that you aren’t having productive conversations with your customers, your prospects or your team shoot me a DM I’d love to hear your question and bring it on the air.

Dealing with a Disrespectful Customer

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