As sales professionals, we all strive to delight and provide superior value to our customers. But what about those customers who are demanding beyond reason? Those whose expectations far exceed the products/services for which they paid? Or who keep expanding the scope of our deliverable without expanding their budget? These folks create a conundrum for sales professionals committed to excellence because, to us, a less-than-satisfied customer feels like a failure. Here are tips for handling unreasonable clients:
Remember Your Value
A customer who tries to take advantage is demonstrating a lack of appreciation for your value via the products/services you offer. A healthy self-awareness regarding the value you provide goes a long way in projecting that mindset to customers. Be sure you are articulating that value to customers relative to their gaps and needs. Undercut your value once and you have set an undesirable precedent for your relationship with this customer moving forward!
Anticipate Potential Add-ons
Think about possible scenarios in advance of how the customer might try to push the envelope (chances are, you’ve encountered it before) and how you will respond.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Particularly when you sense a greedy tendency in a customer, be sure to clearly articulate the deliverables and scope of service up front. Identify potential “add-ons” and the costs associated with them. You can either share these up front, or have them ready, in the event the customer presses for additional products/services.
Without a doubt, there will be occasions when we encounter unreasonable customers, either because they don’t understand the scope of their purchase or because it is simply in their character to push until they hear “no.” These practices will help minimize the occurrence and the impact of these situations. On very rare occasions, we may encounter a customer with whom we cannot reach agreement on what deliverable is reasonable for the agreed upon price, and we need to walk away. In the moment, it is not a good feeling; but long term, it is the right decision to uphold our value proposition and prevent a “black hole” customer who takes an inordinate amount of our time and energy at the expense of other clients and other business development opportunities.