How To Turn Conflict Into "A Force For Positive Change"

BY Jessica Helinski
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A career in sales guarantees that you will engage with a variety people. Whether you conduct business solely over the phone or every meeting is in-​person, your ability to manage how you communicate with others is vital to success. So, it’s pretty much guaranteed that conflicts will arise. But, don’t shy away from them. As Lolly Daskal recently blogged, “conflicts can actually present opportunities for positive change. Effective conflict resolution can build deeper relationships and foster more effective communication.”

She goes on to highlight different phrases that can be used when conversations get heated. While her post targets leaders, the advice shared works for everyone, including sales reps. Below are just a few of her suggestions:

I sense that you’re feeling emotional about this topic. Is that right?

This phrase immediately lets the other person know that you recognize their feelings; it also does a bit of a psychological trick. “Sometimes to break tension you need to label the emotion,” she explains. “Labeling acknowledges what the person feels without judgment, helping them feel recognized and acknowledged and decreasing their tension.” This will not only help calm the situation, but also show the person that you care and understand. 

What can we do to change the situation? 

Saying this establishes that you’re ready to take action, but not alone. The key word is “we,” which emphasizes that resolving the issue will be a team effort. You aren’t placing responsibility solely on the other person nor are you doing it your way alone. “Using we signals collaboration instead of hierarchy and problem-​solving instead of finger-​pointing,” Daskal writes. 

These are only two of her suggestions; they all are effective regardless of who the other person is, be it a prospect, current client or team member. Avoiding conflicts doesn’t make for sustainable success. The more comfortable and effective you become at resolving conflicts, the better your relationships will be. As Daskal explains, “Dealt with the right way conflict can be a force for positive change. It opens the channel to better communication and stronger relationships.”