Tough Customers Make You Better


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Ah, how easy sales would be if we just didn’t have to deal with all of these customers! Have you ever had that thought? If you’ve been in sales long enough, you’ve likely discovered that not all customers are created equal. Some customers just seem to be a complete pain-in-the-butt.

In fact, I’m a very difficult customer to many of the merchants and service providers to whom I’m a patron. Not because I enjoy being a pain, but because I have high expectations.

Forgive me if I expect a sales representative to listen. Or if I escalate things to the branch manager at my local bank because an issue is not resolved properly. Maybe I’m just old school, but I don’t feel that my basic expectations are excessive.

In short, I expect customer-facing employees to:
• Listen well
• Resolve open issues
• Follow-up based on the expectations THEY set
• Diffuse the situation if customer becomes agitated (not add fuel to the fire)
• Understand the distinction between them (merchant) and me (customer)

This is basic stuff but the majority of customer-facing employees simply aren’t trained properly. Under-promising and over-delivering is not advanced math.

If the customer states that they’re not looking to argue with the sales rep, the sales rep should not respond: “I’m not arguing.” That response, in and of itself, is arguing!

The target market for Empowered Sales Training is not customer service so let me get off this pony and back on track with the purpose of this post: Tough customers make you better.

Sales Training
Whether it be a small item like a bad encounter from customer service, or a large project whereby the customer is ultra-demanding and hard-to-please, the reality is that you’re being stretched. And that’s exactly what tough customers do, they expect more than your average customer tends to expect. Granted, we wouldn’t want all of our customers to be so challenging; but at the end of the day, tough customers really do make you better.

Tough customers cause you to think outside the box, force you to come up with alternatives and make you see things from their perspective. Many times, after you’ve somehow survived the project and met the customer’s expectations, they become your biggest fans. Not only that, but indeed, they do make you better. You’re communications are likely more crisp, your service levels are improved and you’ve added things to your fix-it-list internally.

And the best news of all, the rest of your customers will ultimately benefit because you’ve experienced that tough customer. It’s like a sports coach, the best ones are typically hated at various points in the season because they’ve pushed the athlete so hard… harder than the athlete would have pushed him or herself.

The next time you run into a pain-in-the-butt customer whose demands seem excessive. Smile and work through it with them. You’ll be better off in the long run; your entire organization will be better for the experience.

Tough customers make you better!

Empowered Sales Training leverages deep personal experience, gems from industry icons, classic sales methodologies and innovative practices to empower your organization for sales success.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kevin Graham
Kevin Graham is an author, speaker and expert on empowerment, sales and leadership. As managing director of Empowered Sales Training, Kevin works with organizations to empower sales success. Formerly, Kevin was a top performing sales executive in the ultra competitive technology sector. He's qualified for President's Club status in three Fortune 500 companies, carried the Olympic Torch and played in a national championship.


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