How to Handle the Tough Customer

BY Jessica Helinski
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At some point in your sales career, you are going to have at least one difficult client. Whether he or she is in the right or wrong, you still need to handle the client professionally. This can be tough, especially when things get heated. Himanshu Agarwal, founder & CEO of SmartWeb, recently discussed the topic in a post for the CustomerThink blog. He shares six suggestions for dealing with a client who may be, in his words, “pure hell.”

First, tune in. While all you may want to do is tune out the person, do the opposite. Let the client speak and actively listen. Even if you believe he is misinformed, continue to listen. “As you tune in to what they say, accept the open door to collaborate with the client towards a mutually-​beneficial solution,” Agarwal writes. Also, while listening, think of questions to ask, which will show that you are listening and engaged.

Next, focus on the following:

  • Make sure that you keep your voice volume down. Excitement and agitation can lead to parties trying to speak over each other—and the volumes to rise. “Control the situation,” Agarwal advises. “Your cool, calm and collected air will be reflected back to you by malevolent customers.…As you approach the circumstance with a quiet and calm personality, they’ll mirror you in an attempt to seem cordial.”
  • Speed-​meditate. Even if you don’t actively practice meditation, a couple of meditation tricks can help you regain control. Take a few slow breaths, count slowly down from 10, or silently repeat a positive mantra. These simple actions can help you keep your cool and regain composure.

These tips, along with the rest in Agarwal’s post, can help you when things get tense with a client. Issues, disagreements and even arguments are inevitable in the sales world. But as he reminds readers, “The manner in which you handle customers reflects your entire business; frustrations, annoyances, and grievances don’t remove the fact that handling customers effectively keeps the business afloat.”