Sales Training: Day 114 – Dealing with a difficult prospect

Some sales prospects can very difficult to work with.  It’s one of the hazards of the job.  The Difficult Sales Prospect feels they can bully their way through a sale.  There can be several reasons for this including:

  • They feel empowered because they work for a larger company that purchase in large amounts.
  • Unfortunately, they may be a lower level employee and they feel that they finally have someone to boss around…you!
  • They feel that if they don’t drive a hard bargain their status will be diminished in their boss’s eyes. If they are the person who can sign your order form, they really don’t care if you make a decent profit or not.
  • They just are not nice people.

Whatever the reason, if not handled correctly, these “problem children” can waste your time, your money and sap your energy.  You will not always be able to control their behavior.  However, there are steps you can take to minimize their impact and ways you can actually conclude quickly if they will ever be worth your effort.   You do not want all of your prospects to be your customers.  It’s natural to think the more, the better.  However, if the Difficult Sales Prospect is trying to bully you before they pay you, they will be even harder to work with as a customer.   Here are few tips on dealing with the Difficult Sales Prospect:

  1. Determine early. The quicker you can figure out if the sales prospect is worth investing in, the less aggravation you will face down the road.  One tipoff is if the sales prospect is talking about price at the start of the sales cycle.  They’re letting you know they don’t care as much about the relationship as they do about coming out on top.   Good relationships are evenly balanced.
  2. Show one additional good faith gesture. You should do this with any potential client.   If it gets to the point in the customer’s buying cycle where you must threaten to cut off the deal, you will have a cushion against being the “one who was difficult.”
  3. Ignore them for a while. If they have a real need, they’ll be calling you back.  When they do, it’s time to explain to them what real business relationships are about and for you to restate the ground rules.
  4. Go above their head. You can always throw a Hail Mary and call the CEO.  It’s not a step you take every time, but it should be an option if the sale is in jeopardy.  In taking this measure you should consider what your relationship is going to be with the person whose head you went above after the sale.

Give them one last chance.  When you realize dealing with this person is never going to be good for you and your company, it is time to pleasantly and diplomatically say, “We are not on the same page.  This is best we can do for you.  If this is not good enough, we wish you well.”  Then, hopefully, they will find your competitor.

sales training

Part-Time Sales Manager