So you’re struggling with a difficult buyer, and are about to bang your head on the keyboard multiple times in the hopes of getting a migraine, so you’ll have an excuse to hold off on the reply until tomorrow?
Take a deep breath… We’ve all been there!
What if you could learn the skills necessary to communicate with a difficult buyer, and go about your day without feeling like you want to go all Rambo on your computer?
A few years ago I was in this particular situation. After buying a new keyboard (I smashed the old one), I thought to myself: maybe it’s my communication skills that need some work. So I started looking for the skills I needed to allow my keyboard and other peripherals to survive these…Herculean buyers.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far - and how I implemented these skills in my daily contact with difficult buyers. .
It all starts with communication
Handling difficult buyers, and clients, in general, can be a challenge. If you master some basic communication skills (that might not be obvious to you when you’re considering smashing that keyboard), you can master even the most difficult of buyers with ease - and a smile. Since we can’t just wish the difficult buyers away, turning the situation around seems like the best option we have.
So… Start by listening carefully to what the buyer has to say. When the buyer rants off, stay calm and professional. Maybe they have a point? If you listen carefully and show your buyer that your goal in this is to solve the problem, you are demonstrating that you’re professional, and value your clients.
This means that you shouldn’t react to rude remarks, and instead explain your opinion to the buyer calmly and professionally. If you try to empathize with them as well by communicating that you understand where they’re coming from, you can turn the situation around quickly.
Always restate their issue
This is something I always do when I have to deal with a difficult client. By restating their concerns in a calm way, this shows the buyer that I have understood their problem, and that I’m taking the issue seriously.
Apologize, even if it’s not your fault
This might be the hardest part: saying “I’m sorry” to a buyer who just emptied their entire frustration-quota for the day in your chat when it’s not even your fault! But, even if their grievance isn’t justified, say “I’m sorry that you feel that way” or “I’m sorry to hear that.” This can go a long way in disarming the angry person on the other side. If you’re in the right, you can still apologize for the misunderstanding, and then offer a solution.
Don’t fight with the buyer
Whatever you do, don’t fight with your buyer! Be professional about it, and try to talk the buyer down by offering a solution and using the skills you’ve learned to work things out. Always try to tone down the buyers’ anger rather than making it worse by responding in kind.
Always treat the buyer with dignity, and ask them politely if they can explain to you how they would like the outcome to be.
After you’ve (hopefully) solved the buyers’ problem, always follow up by making sure the buyer is happy this time around. This might turn that angry customer into repeat business! One of my best clients started as a frustrated one because of a miscommunication, and we have a great working relationship to this day, thanks in part to what I’ve learned over the years when it comes to communicating in this sort of situation.
Are you saying I should just sit there and take abuse from the buyer?!
No - of course not! What you should do is to maintain your professional exterior, while handling the situation in a manner that might land you more business in the future, and can potentially avoid a negative review or cancellation.
If you become the victim of serious harassment and inflammatory language from a buyer (or seller), you should resolve the matter through customer support, or by blocking the individual.
Being great at communication, and being able to calm down the situation, isn’t the same as accepting abuse.
Here is an example that can give you a better idea of how to implement these skills in your communication.
Mike (buyer): This logo is useless to us!! How do you expect me to use a logo with this ugly color? It looks like ***. You claimed to be a professional designer but this looks like something a 4-year-old would do!
Jenny (seller): Hi Mike. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re not satisfied with the logo design proposal I made for you. I understand that you’re not happy about the colors I’ve picked for your logo, and you want to change it. I would be very happy to fix this for you right away - however, I do need some more information to solve the problem in the best possible way.
Can you please explain in a bit more detail how you want the logo to turn out? Perhaps you could provide me with some color examples I can work with? Then I’m sure we can work together and create the perfect result for you.
All the best,
I’m terrible at examples, but you get a general idea. The buyer was certainly not on his best manners in that example, but by answering politely, empathizing with the buyer, and offering to resolve the issue, the situation might have been turned around right then and there.
But, what if the buyer is extremely rude, using curse words, or calling you names? That’s a different ball game.
Then, I would start the conversation similar to the above, but right after the apology, state something like:
I’m sorry you feel that way, and I want to solve your problem in the best possible manner. However, to make this happen, I have to ask you to refrain from using inflammatory language and calling me names. I’m a human being, who can make mistakes like everyone else, but I do not accept name-calling or bad language. I hope you understand - and that we can work together to solve this as soon as possible.
You should never accept abuse from your buyers. If you can’t solve the issue by being polite, I suggest blocking the individual and contacting customer support to resolve the situation.
I hope this can be of help to anyone who is about to behave like the keyboard-smashing monkey I once was when dealing with difficult clients.
I would love to hear from you guys how you deal with this sort of situation as well!
Have a great Saturday, y’all!