Ever worked with a prospect who makes you want to tear your hair out? Maybe this person sends you 6 emails a day. Or perhaps you’re frustrated with someone who is rude, asks invasive questions, or wants an answer and solution “yesterday.”
If you find yourself nodding “yes,” to all of these statements, remember that you’re not alone. Even the best sales reps encounter friction and personality conflicts in their sales conversations.
What matters most is how you handle the situation — and the goal of this blog post is to help you do exactly that: give you an arsenal of battle-tested techniques to help you stay sane and help you steer your conversations from soul-sucking to heartfelt and constructive.
Follow these tips next time you’re dealing with an annoying, rude, or frustrating prospect. Here goes.
Take a breather
Studies show that even a subtle amount of stress can wreak havoc on cognitive functions: you’re less equipped to deal with annoying situations when you’re already irked. Stop running on a hamster wheel of bad emotions — the best way to get back on track is to nip frustration in the bud.
When you feel the slightest inkling of frustration, stand up and take a walk. Go spend some time in nature (sidebar: read this article about the calming power of nature). You’re better equipped to keep conversations constructive when your emotional equilibrium is in check.
Now that you’re feeling calm, try to understand why your prospect is being annoying. Here are some common reasons:
- He’s new to working with vendors like your company
- She’s under pressure from her boss
- He’s stressed in his personal life
- She’s confused by the technical complexity of your product
- She’s time-strapped in her role
No matter the case, remember that you’re on the same side: both of you are after the same goals for success. Figure out exactly what those milestones are.
Ask clarifying questions like the following:
- What challenges are you experiencing in your role?
- What’s on your vendor wishlist?
- Who are the stakeholders in your organization, and what do they care about?
- How much time does your team have to devote to this project?
By asking intelligent questions, you’ll show your prospect that you’re listening with an open mind and open heart. Be patient, keep your door open, and actively tackle your prospect’s challenges.
It’s amazing how information gets lost in translation. What’s common knowledge to some may be a brand new concept to others.
Your prospect may just need a nudge in the right direction. And one of the ways that you can offer support is to provide education and reference material throughout your sales process. Pay close attention to your proposal process, especially. With a few simple changes to your communications strategy, you may be able to solve your biggest communication pain points:
- Break down your scope of services, in detail, so your prospects know what they’re purchasing.
- Include a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section, so prospects know what questions they should be asking.
- Offer up suggestions for how to measure ROI.
- Provide links to resources about your product.
Bonus points: Use analytics to track exactly what your prospects are reading. Use these metrics as discussion pointers to figure out what they’re interested in doing and why they might be confused.
Patience is your best friend. Keep a calm, steady tone in your moments of weakness.
Make it a game for yourself: see how even-toned you can be, even when you’ve reached your ultimate annoyance thresholds. With some focus and dedication, your may be able to make your most annoying prospects your best ones.