Expert Strategies for Dealing with Customers, Part 1

Customers are obviously the life of a business – but what happens when a business owner starts crumbling when he needs to convince a customer to see things his way?

Today’s discussion will focus on specific tactics that can be used in business/sales settings. Feel free to experiment with these techniques regardless of the mode of communication (e.g. phone conversation, live dialog, text messaging, etc.). The important thing here is that you are able to apply the techniques and learn something new about how to deal with customers on a daily basis.

The first lesson that I am going to share with you today is quite simple: people decide based on what their internal gauges are telling them. You have your own internal gauges.

Your customer has his own gauges. You might feel that you are already offering the best deal in the world but that doesn’t matter in the conversation at all because what you need is a sale.

Each person has his own way of measuring advantages, benefits and risks. While it is true that you can invest a lot of time trying to explain away the risks, the sale won’t happen if you are not paying attention to the customer’s feedback.

So if you think the customer does not appreciate the benefits, you have to ask a string of questions to draw out the hidden objections. Only then would you be able to supply the information needed to ‘change the readings’ of the customer’s internal gauges.

The 2nd lesson concerns the USP or your Unique Selling Proposition. What do you have to offer your customers that would make you stand out from all the rest? What can you bring the table that two hundred other competitors still haven’t brought to the table themselves?

Dig deep and figure out how you can make yourself unique and special and I can assure you – your customers will gradually change their perception of you and the business that you represent.

If you don’t change, I cannot even guarantee that they would try to change their perception of your business. And why would they? You haven’t change at all – why should they even change their mind if you are not offering something fresh and positive?

The 3rd lesson is all about choosing the right customers. We all know that a customer is only useful to a business if he actually does business with you and he openly shows that he values whatever you are offering. If a customer is happy to do business with you and is a repeat customer, he belongs to the “20” group or the upper 20% of the customers that your business has had the pleasure to have.

If a customer always complains and constantly becomes a burden to deal with, he probably belongs to the “80” group of 80% of the problematic people that every business has to contend with if they want to survive. Face it – not all customers are angels.

You are eventually going to meet a bunch of customers that are simply not worth your time. Don’t worry – these customers will have a use. Send them to your competition and let your competition handle these difficult people. Focus your energy and time on the “20” group. Your business would blossom if you do this.

Of course, if you can add more people from the “80” group to the “20” group, that will be favorable because the more paying customers you have, the better.

But sometimes, if a person is too resistant and is too much of a bother, he simply is not worth your time anymore. It’s a hard truth that we all have to deal with. Don’t be afraid to send a customer away especially if the customer becomes too aggressive or resistant to your best efforts.

Now, let’s talk about another problem that businesses have been dealing with since time immemorial: customers who feel that they are entitled to everything just because they are the customers.

Don’t get me wrong – I love customers. I love people who come to me for business opportunities. However, there are times when a customer seems to have prepared for a battle more than anything else when steps up and talks to the business owner.

This is when it gets problematic. What do you do when the customer is aggressive and doesn’t want to compromise with you? My tip for you is quite simple: be brutally honest with the customer. By “brutally honest” I don’t mean that you should be extremely aggressive.

Keep smiling as you talk but make sure that you share the details that you haven’t been sharing before. For example, if the customer is asking for a large discount that you can’t give, explain why you can’t give the discount. If the customer feels that he is entitled to a discount, he is also entitle to a full disclosure of why he can’t get one under certain circumstances.

Today’s final lesson centers on the idea of perception. Your perception of the world, as far as you are concerned, is the totality of reality. Your perception may be close to the perception of the customer but at the same time there will be marked differences because you are completely different people.

Often, it is more productive to adapt the viewpoint of the customer so you can understand why he is talking and behaving in a particular way. Once you get into the shoes of the customer, it would be much easier to explain details and offer relevant solutions. If you want to be relevant, you have to know the customer’s needs.

Again, don’t be afraid to ask questions. If the customer’s needs sound strange to you, have him explain his needs in terms that you can understand.

People appreciate it when a business owner or sales person asks questions instead of assuming what the customer needs. Often, assumptions are wrong because if you are addressing the needs of a single customer, his particular needs will be markedly different from the needs of the next customer.