“The Sales Moment; Issue #227″
Merriam Webster defines irrational as not thinking clearly: not able to use reason or good judgment.
Several years ago I was advised that a particular customer was going to be impossible to please. Feeling challenged and confident I jumped in to prove them wrong.
After meeting with the customer, providing a solution and getting the order, I was confused because this customer did not display any irrational tendencies. I was diligent to every detail of the service after the sale and I maintained close communication with the customer to make sure everything went as planned and it did.
I assumed the other salespeople were wrong about this guy and my amazing sales skills had won him over. I was wrong.
Soon after the job was complete, I received a random call from my boss stating that the customer had called in an official complaint citing several issues with many aspects of his purchase and installation. I was speechless!
This customer’s reaction was entirely irrational. But, he’s still the customer, right? Aren’t we taught the customer is always right?
If you have been dealing with people for any time at all, you know that this statement is false. The customer is sometimes wrong. As salespeople, we have to make a choice.
We can choose to move on or we can continue to work with them understanding the difficulties that will come with that choice.
Here are some questions you should ask:
- How much emotional energy and time is required to maintain a relationship with this customer?
- Is the business this customer provides worth the costs?
- Will the time it takes to service this customer take time away from other good customers and new business development?
- Is there anyone else in the company that I can deal will?
We can’t always be sure what causes someone to be irrational in our eyes. It could be a power move on their part or it may simply be they are receiving pressure from a boss or someone that is not engaged in the details of the project. Regardless, we must do everything in our power to please that customer and most importantly, remain calm in the process. Then we can choose how to proceed.
Fortunately, I have only experienced a few irrational customers in the last thirty years of selling. The rest have been a joy to serve and I can live with those odds.
Have a great week!