Eight Ways to Deal With Difficult People
“How do you deal with difficult prospects – especially the obnoxious ones?”
This was a question I was often asked when training a group of salespeople. And I had to be honest and tell them I had an academic way of answering the question but I couldn’t remember the last time I actually had to deal with an obnoxious person.
I have been reflecting about why, when it was such a common concern of salespeople, my own experience of obnoxious prospects was so limited. It is not simple: many factors combine to make people around us more agreeable, but I believe our attitudes are a key factor.
In my early twenties I set a goal to do all my sales by referrals or repeat business and began to structure my work in such a way that I would have a minimum of cold-calling. Here’s how I started:
- I kept the prospect’s interests in mind at all times and wouldn’t compromise my values just to make a sale.
- I adopted the attitude that the more people I helped, the better I got paid. So I made it a point to help as many people as I could without worrying about making a sale.
- I worked hard at ensuring I understood their needs and ultimate goals so I could recommend the correct solution.
- I followed up after the sale to answer any questions and make sure they were happy with their purchase.
- I asked for and received referrals. Satisfied clients are happy to help someone who adds value by consulting and advising them rather than those who just complete a transaction.
- I read voraciously and knew my stuff. The more I knew, the more value I could add.
- As an added service, I would provide helpful information through newsletters, emails, or articles (like this) that cost them nothing but might spark an idea that could help their business or be shared with a friend.
- To this day, I always treat everyone I meet with dignity and respect and expect them to do the same. Most people will rise to your expectations if you are sincere. If they don’t, I don’t want them as a client.
I do have to correct myself… I have met obnoxious people; unfortunately they tended to be salespeople trying to sell me something. If you follow this advice, I’m hopeful you won’t be one of them.
July 2, 2020
Type the characters you see in the picture left; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.