When you are faced by an angry person, you will be either part of the problem or you can be part of the solution!
The most important thing to remember when dealing with a difficult person is not to escalate the person’s anger. Use a neutral voice and take responsibility for the person’s difficulty, but don’t take it personally.
The easiest way to escalate an angry person is to bypass the person’s emotion.
The fastest way to diffuse an angry person is to emotionally connect with the individual and reassure the individual he/she has reached the right person for help.
Checklist for Calming Irate Person(s)
- Allow person to vent.
- When the person pauses to take a breath, sincerely express your appreciation for the situation.
- Repeat or rephrase their complaint.
- Precise complaint.
- Apologize if necessary.
- Thank person for bringing it to your attention.
No matter how well prepared and strongly delivered your message (answer to the individual’s inquiry, or solution to the individual’s service problem), you won’t get immediate agreement from everyone. But rather than say “no” to your recommendation and disengage, most people will raise some objection.
It’s important to recognize an objection when you hear it. An objection is any reason or excuse the individual gives you for not agreeing with you immediately. It’s not an outright rejection of your recommendation. It’s simply a way of telling you that the individual hasn’t seen any reason to accept what you’re saying now. Your skill at managing these objections will determine your success.
Think of an objection as simply a request for more information.
The Cycle for Managing Objections
First, let’s look at the positive side: When an individual raises an objection, it means they’ve been listening and are willing to talk. You, in effect, are being told: “You haven’t given me a good enough reason to accept what you’re saying yet.”
The objection actually gives you a golden opportunity now to do just that. The natural instinct is to answer the objection immediately. This will seem argumentative to the individual. The best way to reach an agreement is to answer the objection by following the Managing Objections Cycle.
This details the process of managing an objection one step at a time. Here is how it works for you.
Try not to interrupt. This is a critical point in the interaction. This is when your ability to listen can really count. Be sure you understand exactly what the individual’s real objection is.
Don’t jump to conclusions. Because there are often a number of possible interpretations of the individual’s words, it’s easy to misunderstand what the individual is saying. If you jump to the wrong conclusion, you will fail to answer the individual’s real objection and you may even introduce an objection your individual hasn’t thought of.
The most effective way to make sure that your understanding of the objection is correct is to ask the individual. Your job is to ask probing questions until you know exactly what the individual’s real objection is.
Tip – Using “And” as an Agreement Bridge
Avoid using the words “but”, “yet”, and “however” since they imply disagreement. Instead use the word “and” to continue the transition.
Why are these Agreement Bridges so effective? Because individuals perceive you are agreeing with what they’ve just said. You’re showing an interest in their situation and seeing it from their point of view.
Answer the Objection
You’re now ready to answer the objection. From your knowledge of your company’s policies, procedures, products and services, and from your own experience, you should be able to answer nearly any objection that arises. The best way to do it is, of course, to show that the objection is not valid.
Stress a Benefit
Introduce a new benefit to the individual at this point, or repeat one that the individual responded favorably to earlier in the conversation. You want to get the individual’s mind off the objection quickly and on to the benefit of your solution.
Return to your Message
You’ve brought the interaction back to the position at which you started. Don’t be surprised if the individual raises a second objection. Experience shows that the second one is more likely to be the individual’s real objection. That’s fine. The individual is still listening and talking. Repeat the Cycle if There’s Another Objection.
Go back to Step 1, listen carefully, and go through the cycle of managing an objection again.
It’s been said that we’re conditioned from childhood to raise objections to things proposed to us. So, it is quite natural for you to meet with resistance — no matter what the product, service, solution, policy, or procedure. No matter how well you’re prepared; and no matter what you say, or how well you say it.