It’s inevitable that every now and then you’ll need to deal with a client who is very upset. Try as we all might, sometimes ads get missed, incorrect creative gets published, color registration is off, etc. No matter who is to blame, it is always important to keep a few principles in mind to improve rather than deteriorate the situation with the client. I’ve often said that sometimes making the sale is the easy part – dealing with undesirable response or unexpected mistakes is what truly defines us as professional salespeople.
Here are some tips for dealing with an upset client to ensure that future business is not jeopardized.
1. Stay calm. Try to remain diplomatic and polite. Getting angry will only make the client more upset.
2. Consider the client’s point of view. Perhaps you would also feel upset if you were in the same situation.
3. Thank your client for raising the concern and do it sincerely. Emphasize the importance of satisfied customers to you and your newspaper.
4. Listen for understanding. Sometimes the irate caller just wants someone to listen to their story, even if you are unable to help them.
5. Ask questions to get the facts and understand their feelings. Listen to learn rather than to prepare your response. Don’t respond too quickly.
6. Find points of agreement with their concerns. Establish common ground to show that you are listening.
7. Show a willingness to resolve the problem. Make the resolution seem as easy as possible.
8. Be genuine. Respond as an understanding friend rather than by citing policies.
Finally, sometimes it makes sense to ask your sales manager or publisher to talk to the client. Often times bringing in a third party can help calm the situation.
Satisfied clients will always spend more money with you than disgruntled clients. When a potentially disastrous situation arises, use the tips above to show your client that you are sympathetic to their concerns and can recommend an amicable solution. This is what separates a trusted business advisor from just another advertising salesperson.
Have a terrific week,
If there are specific topics you’d like to see discussed in a future issue of The Sales Cycle, please contact me at (612) 278-0223 or firstname.lastname@example.org