Remember, if you give up on the client, it means you gave up on yourself.Here are four strategies for dealing with impossible clients (first two strategies appeared here: http://thecustomersuccesscenter.com/4-strategies-dealing-impossible-client-part-1-2/):
- Get help. You’re not in this alone; unless you want to be. Other Account Managers or Customer Success Managers have been where you are now, so talk to your colleagues.
- Turn things around. Especially when you have time to prepare, you need a list of quality open questions to put the customer “on the spot.”
Remember: if the customer behavior can be profiled, it can be managed.Here are five classic client profiles (I will review in a greater detail in a future article):
- “Mr. Purchasing Agent, from what you say, it appears you don’t see the value in this deal. What can you do to help us see this from your side?”
- “Ms. Manager, you’re saying that we are not getting the message, and I hear you. But, looking back over our agreement, it looks like we have even beat the specifics you laid out. Could you help me see where we have not lived up to the terms we agreed on?”
- “Mr. Operations Chief, my notes don’t show us getting that input from you. We built this proposal on the data you gave us when we first met and in two other meetings. What would you suggest we do to solve your problem?”
- “Ms. Contractor, I think what you’re saying is that this is too costly. Still, I thought we covered that in your last phone call. Has something changed since then?”
- “Mr. Buyer, I am surprised you’re bringing up the competition now. I’ve never said a word against them, but you had indicated your unhappiness with them, and we addressed those concerns early on. If it is still an issue of price, we can beat their offer if you tell me what we can take out of this deal.”
- “Dr. Rose, my dilemma is that we’re not getting enough subject-matter content from your organization in order to create the necessary marketing leverage. What would you suggest to do?”
Remember: due to their non-judgmental structure, questions tend to disarm tension and conflict. Use questions!Keeping the “professional” in Customer Success Manager – All the strategies discussed here – in all my meetings with Customer Success Managers – assume we are talking about intelligent people working on a level playing field. Any good and effective relationship builds on a fair and willing human connection. Given the variety of humans and their behavior, that assumption may be generous of me. Still, your integrity, character, and ability to look yourself in the mirror depend on your taking the high road. Take the high road! Feel free to share ideas that worked for you in this matter.