Handling Angry Clients

Shamus Brown
 


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What do you do when your client gets mad at you? How do you handle this? An angry client can be one of the biggest time and energy drains on a sales person.

What you should specifically do will obviously depend on what the client is angry about. Sometimes our clients have a legitimate reason to be angry, such as when we screw up. Other times clients get unreasonably upset because they have different expectations about your business relationship.

In either case, your objective should be to make the client happy again (unless your client is so unreasonable that you need to let them go).

The first step towards converting an angry client to a happy one is to get in rapport with your client while he is angry.

This approach may sound a little weird to you. It works though, and you'll realize its true once you reflect upon your own experiences with anger. Ever been mad at a company, or another person, or a politician for example? When you were angry, how did you feel when you spoke to someone who didn't share your anger? You felt misunderstood, maybe even to the point where you didn't want to be around them, right?

Now think about how you felt when you encountered someone who shared you anger. You felt understood and wanted to be around this person more, didn't you?

© 1999-2004 Shamus Brown, All Rights Reserved.

People fundamentally want to be around others who are like themselves. We seek this all the time in all of our dealings with others. And when our mood change, we often want to be around people who are experiencing the same thing.

So then, how do you get in rapport with an angry client?

The simplest and fastest way is to match their mood, while being careful not to match the content of what they are saying. You do this by getting yourself into an emotional state similar to the client. This may be anger, frustration, or whatever word you think best describes their mood. The word label doesn't really matter. You can observe the client's mood, and you know how to create a similar feeling inside of yourself whatever the name.

Remember I also said not to match the content of what the client is saying. This is very important. In other words, you don't want to say nasty things to your client just to match them. Yes this will get you into a similar mood as them, and yes you will be in rapport. But only briefly as you watch their anger skyrocket out of control.

Instead what you want to do is say something to let them know that you are going to try rectify the situation that caused the anger. You tell them something like this:

"Jack, I know you are upset. I am upset that this situation has gotten you upset. I am going to get to work right away on. . . "

And remember to say this from a mood that matches their anger or frustration. Don't be all nice and comforting in your tone of voice. If you do, you'll just make them madder because they won't feel understood.

Mood matching is something you do often with friends, family and many prospects already. You just do it so automatically that you don't always notice it. By choosing to match someone, you give yourself greater influence with your clients and prospects. By matching moods and getting in rapport with an angry client, you will have greater influence over the future of the relationship.

Shamus Brown is a Professional Sales Coach and former high-tech sales pro who began his career selling for IBM. Shamus has written more than 50 articles on selling and is the creator of the popular Persuasive Selling Skills CD Audio Program. You can read more of Shamus Brown's sales tips at http://Sales-Tips.industrialEGO.com/ and you can learn more about his persuasive sales skills training at http://www.Persuasive-Sales-Skills.com/

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