…or at least lunch!
Let’s face it, not all clients are easy to deal with. Some can be outright d!@$’s and sometimes as a salesperson that means you’ve got to play hard ball in order to close that deal.
Like most sales reps, I have had my fair share of moments where a client completely ticked me off, however it is definitely not always appropriate to react.
In sales, rejection is part of the game. We all need to deal with it and be able to handle it. By handling it, I mean brushing it off and persisting and hence why my motto is “Suck it up Princess!”
But what happens when your client or potential client abuses your working relationship or acts unprofessionally?
In extreme cases which I have previously discussed, it may be more appropriate to simply fire your client.
In other situations however, it may be more appropriate to bring the clients bad behavior to their attention and try to leverage that into a sale. Below are some examples from my personal experience where I did just that. They are in no particular order.
Problem Clients and How I Managed Them:
Problem Client #1: The “No Show”
My “Guilt Trip”: Call them and outright tell them that I don’t appreciate being stood up and that they owe me a good order, or at the very least that the next time that I’m in town, they can buy me a meal. 90% of the time, I got a really good order. The other 10% of the time I got a meal or at least a drink out of the ordeal.
Problem Client #2: The “I Want to Have My Cake and Eat it Too”. Not giving me the majority of their business after years of effort they asked me to pull strings to get them a good Christmas gift.
My “Guilt Trip”: “You’re making me look bad in front of my boss”, which I said with my boss present when we were delivering their Christmas gift. After that visit I acquired 80% of their business.
Problem Client #3: Returning My Product in My Competitors Packaging
My “Guilt Trip”: I mailed the box back to them and included an order form and a hand written note stating that it was rude of them to do that and I think they owe me one *wink* *wink*. They faxed in a really good order and ended up being a very loyal client.
Problem Client #4: The User Abuser: Exploited me for my knowledge but only ever bought one product from me.
My “Guilt Trip”: I barely had to say anything since he was fully aware of what he was doing and had a good idea that this was likely our last meeting. He looked at me and blurted out, “I’m an ass*^** aren’t I?”. I nodded my head in agreement and informed him that all of the free bits of information end here and now unless he starts to buy more products from me. It worked. That move got me over 90% of their business after that and they ended up being a very loyal client.
Problem Client #5: The Stuck-In-the Habit Excuse: Competitor programmed into speed dial.
My “Guilt Trip”: I told him that it was a lousy excuse and asked him to hand me his phone. I programmed my business number in the slot where my competitor was and moved my competitors phone number to a different slot. I did the same thing with his fax machine. 100% Effective. I acquired all of his business after that.
In reading my examples of when I thought it was appropriate to guilt trip a client and try to leverage that into a sale, I hope that you understand that this is by no means common practice. These client behaviors and my subsequent responses are rare and I would never suggest using guilt as a primary means to close your average deal. These situations are highly specific and apply when a qualified buyer has done something to blatantly disregard and waste your time and/or disrespect you. As I mentioned previously, rejection is integral to the sales process and by no means should you be putting a guilt trip on every potential client who refuses your product or service.
When you are a sales rep, your time is valuable too, so if you encounter someone who is blatantly wasting your time, perhaps you should move on or call them on it.
In the meantime, happy sales my friends and I hope you don’t encounter too many difficult clients.