Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford

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Communication: Maintaining Composure - January 21, 2017

Sales, regardless of product, service or industry, is about human relationships. And, we all know human relationships can be complicated, just ask any married couple. There are times when relationships are pure bliss (aka the honeymoon phase). Then there are times where the relationship feels strained, that no one is listening or willing to talk, just scream and yell. Naturally in a professional environment you’d think no one would stoop so low as to scream and yell, but human emotions can take control of the most level headed individuals at times.

 

I promise, the timing of the example for this post is purely circumstantial, it really is. I’ve been planning this post for a few weeks as I’ve been attempting to answer questions and concerns from private clients and colleagues, but this very real example just happened yesterday. And, I have a feeling this may become an example for upcoming posts as well.

 

When I look back on last week’s post about record keeping and sharing, and then I dwell on a telephone call with a client yesterday, I am baffled by how ridiculous some so called professionals act. I’ve been thinking to myself, if they act like this toward me, just imagine how they treat friends, family or employees. It seems my client, after terminating her employee who was a project manager, now has no recollection of why she hired my firm. To make matters worse, even though I documented the sales process in terms of notes, summaries, and a detailed proposal, she is now claiming that we are not delivering what she wanted to buy. Unfortunately, I cannot turn back the clocks and ask her to be more active in conversations, instead of relying on her very talented and knowledgeable project manager.

 

On a review call yesterday, she screamed and yelled. She called me names. She called my company names. She called my employees names. She acted out as if throwing a temper tantrum. She screamed and yelled for nearly 25 minutes before allowing me to utter any sentences. I must say, with over 20+ years in my career, this takes the number one spot on my list of Did That Really Happen In Business list.

 

Now, for those of you that know me, you’d probably think I gave it right back to her. I tend to stand my ground with my held high, but I am also rather blunt. When push comes to shove, I will push back. I believe it to be an appropriate position when being confronted with falsehoods, lies and accusations. But, in reality, these are words. Words may sting a bit, but will only hurt if they are true. If they are not true, well then they are just words.

 

Maintaining one’s composure is the right thing to do, not just in this scenario, but always. You can and should push back when pushed, but with composure. Keep your head on straight. Don’t lose your cool. Do not lower yourself to meet the behavior for which you are being treated. And, no matter what, do not scream and yell back. Keep your composure.

 

I simply asked my very angry and unreasonable client why she was yelling at me. I wanted to know if she recalled the details of multiple conversations throughout the sales process. I very calmly asked if she had been involved in meetings since signing the contract. I gently pushed through a series of questions if she remembered assigning her own employee as project manager and instructed us to work directly with this person. It is a real shame that some people cannot separate emotion from business. It is my hope, always my hope, that when these types of situations occur (even if only once in 20 or so years) that people will breath deep, calm down, reflect on the sales process and what they were purchasing, and then be open to conversation and collaboration versus, as in human relationships, divorce.

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