Conflict in Sales

Friday, August 5 2022

Judy Preszcator – Conflict makes most of us cringe… although some individuals seem to live for it. Regardless, when conflict in sales does arise, it needs to be dealt with quickly and with integrity.

Think about how you managed a conflict in the past and what the outcome was. Did you lose the sale, or worse, the client? There are proven strategies for a more positive outcome.

Steps To Minimize Conflict While Talking with Your Client

  • Pause between stimulus and response*. Don’t give a quick answer, think carefully about your next words. It’s okay to say, “ I need to think about that for a moment” or “I need to get back to you on that.” Then be specific about when and follow through.
  • Who is doing most of the talking? If you are, you do not have control of the conversation*.
  • Are you asking enough questions?
  • Listen empathically, which means listening to understand**.
  • Repeat back what your client said. This shows you ARE listening and that you want to understand their side of the conflict.
  • Discern what assumptions were made by either you or your client.
  • Suggest another meeting if emotions are escalating.

Steps to Take After Your Meeting

  • Review your notes and past conversations to uncover what you missed. Did you skip any step in the sales process that may have caused the conflict to occur?
  • Reflect and ask yourself questions using the Five W’s and How. For example:
    o Who has the biggest misunderstanding?
    o What can I do to fix this?
    o When can next steps be taken?
    o Where did it go off the rails?
    o Why did this conflict occur?
    o How can I prevent this from happening again?

If you are responsible in any way for the conflict, take ownership. This will give you credibility and helps build back some trust. Additionally, it shows your desire to fully understand your client’s perception and to set things right if that is still possible. Trying to skirt around the conflict and making excuses will seal the deal as lost.

If your organization has a sales process, ensure you are following it and if your sales process needs freshening up, click here for details on our Pure Selling program.

*Wayne Vanwyck, Pure Selling
**Steven Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People