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My business has an extremely difficult client who regularly makes unreasonable demands. I don’t want to lose their business, but I have reached the point where I am unsure whether it is worth continuing with the relationship. What should I do?

How to deal with difficult clients.

Entrepreneur

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All customers, especially buyers in business-to-business transactions, have a responsibility to their budget, which you, as the provider of services or goods, need to understand. The customer’s goal is to get the best deal they can. In pursuing their agenda, customers may cajole, push or even demand the best deal possible. Sellers shouldn’t take this personally.

The customer is only doing his job. But, as important as it is to satisfy your customers, there are times when the right thing to do is to say no. Here are some examples:

    • When a Customer Wants an Unreasonable Discount

If you drop your price or give major concessions just because a large buyer pushes you, they will not accept your deal the next time around as you’ve taught them to never accept the first offer. Also, you have a duty to protect your other customers, and make sure they are not penalised for not pushing you as hard.

There are times when you need a particular customer or order. However, you should not succumb to the pressure of giving a better deal unless you get something in return, like a bigger order, better payment terms, free advertising, etc. If you don’t, then no is in order.

    • When a Customer Wants Inside Info on Competitors

When a big customer presses you for proprietary information about another one of your accounts, you must decline this trap. Try saying something like, “it’s not the right thing to do, just as I wouldn’t tell them about my dealings with you.”

It can be difficult to say no to an important customer; but this is important because if you spill the beans on his competitor, he won’t trust you to keep his dealings with you confidential. If trust is broken, growth will be inhibited.

    • When a Customer is Rude

When a customer is nasty and rude to any of your employees, it can be a problem for you. The nastiness may take the form of unwanted sexual advances, screaming, cursing or belittling; whatever the circumstances, I believe managers need to confront this type of customer and explain that they must modify their behaviour. If this doesn’t work, drop that customer. It will do wonders for the spirit, pride and productivity of your employees.

    • When a Customer Asks for Payoff in Kind

When a buyer asks for a payoff in cash or kind, this is over the line. Many like to justify this by saying “everyone else is doing it.” Aside from it being wrong, think of the consequences if it ever became public knowledge that you were a briber, or open to bribes. There goes your reputation with family, employees, friends, investors, customers, et al.

    • When a Customer Breaks an Agreement

When a customer breaks an agreement, you need to hold them to it unless they have a good reason. One broken agreement will lead to others, and the result is an unprofitable client on your books. This is not to suggest you shouldn’t help a deserving customer with a problem.

If they have a good history with you, if they explain their problem and ask (no demands) for your help, and if it’s within your ability to do so, don’t hesitate. But if you’re losing money and you can’t revise price, servicing, or other costs to make this a profitable account, or if there is not a strategic reason to keep the customer, you should just say no.

Most of the time, customers know that your no was the right thing, even if they didn’t get their way, and they will respect you for it. There is value in saying no to customers.

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Sales

How do I make a positive first impression with my clients?

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so be sure you don’t screw it up.

Marc Pillay

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How do I make a positive first impression with my clients?

Everyone makes mistakes. Fortunately, however, they can be rectified in many cases. If the wrong amount of money is transferred, it can be reversed; if the wrong information is given, it can be corrected with a polite apology.

In business matters too, there is a ‘second chance’ that allows for an error to be straightened out and which sometimes can even be turned into an advantage. But there is one time when this is not the case: The first impression.

Making a good first impression is an opportunity that must be maximised. The old saying holds true: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Research has shown that first impressions are of critical importance for three out of four buyers – that is a whopping 75%. Some aspects of your external appearance play a role here, but mostly it is what you say, how you say it and also what is conveyed non-verbally.

It’s all about tone of voice, gestures, facial expressions and body language, and it’s about capturing the mood in which the customer finds them self at that moment.

The following points can help you make a positive first impression on the customer:

  • Approach the customer attentively and with a friendly smile
  • Observe the customer – how do they respond? Are they reserved or receptive, cautious or forthcoming?
  • Take the emotionality of the customer seriously
  • Try to adjust yourself to the mood of the customer
  • Give the customer the feeling that you accept and understand them. Create common ground this way, which will leave the customer with good memories and which will shape their future relationship with you.

Do you already take all of those factors into consideration? If not, try to pay attention to them, and you will quickly see that you will have greater success with them.

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Sales

What’s the most important thing to remember when I’m interacting with a customer?

The one surprisingly simple success tactic that works every time.

Marc Pillay

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What’s the most important thing to remember when I’m interacting with a customer?

Customers want to be taken seriously. Someone who invests money does not only want to receive a product or service. It’s also important to make the customer feel appreciated and on an equal playing field with the sales person.

To do this is surprisingly simple: Address him by his name. By doing this throughout the sales conversation, not only when you greet him, your communication with him becomes much more personal and ‘warmer’.

Nothing is more unpleasant than talking to a person face to face not knowing his name – this has certainly happened to all of us at some point. But how can we possibly remember the names of all our customers?

Here are a number of tips that will help you:

  • Be truly interested in the customer and do not only pretend to pay attention
  • Carefully memorise his name during the first meeting, and write it down if necessary – it is no problem if the customer notices you doing this
  • Repeat the name from time to time during the conversation
  • Memorise the person behind the name – face, figure, voice, distinctive characteristics
  • Try to link the customer’s name to an image. Convert his name into a picture, and link objects or situations to it. The saying also applies in this case: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

You’ll see that after just a short while, the names of your customers will stick in your memory much more easily, and your customer interaction will become more promising.

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Sales

How can I make more sales?

Taking a good look at your existing sales strategy may reveal some areas for improvement.

Tim Berry

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My sales are ticking over nicely but I’d like to increase them now, as I feel that we have the capacity to meet increased demand. Can you give me any advice on how to go about growing sales?

The first thing you need to do is reassess your sales strategy and its impact on sales. Look at what’s working and what isn’t. Once you’ve done that, you can consider introducing some new sales strategies, such as finding new ways to sell more to existing customers, or even how you can find brand new customers. Perhaps you’re charging too little. And your marketing strategy could probably do with an overhaul to ensure it’s relevant in today’s marketplace.

Read the full article here.

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