THINK Big 2-Minute Blog: How to Handle Nightmare Clients

We’ve all had those nightmare sales calls where we can’t get a word in edgewise and the client is a downright bully. Instead of wasting your time arguing, try these tips:

  • When a client is bulldozing over you on the phone, get a pause by putting them on hold. Then you can regroup and gain control. Say, “Where were we? Oh, yeah. I was just going to ask you this.”
  • When you’ve really lost control of a call, hang up on yourself while you’re talking. It gives you a minute to take a breath and recollect. Then, call back and say, “I’m so sorry. I don’t know what happened there.” Remember, the person who initiates the call is in control of the call – and no one ever expects you to hang up on yourself. (I learned that trick from You Can Negotiate Anything by Herb Cohen.)
  • If you’re in a face-to-face meeting and find yourself flailing, or just needing a moment to gather your thoughts, excuse yourself to go to the bathroom.
  • With some ongoing clients — and you’ll quickly find out who they are — you must be overly prepared. Make sure you know everything about their account and their needs. Don’t take anything for granted.
  • The next time you finish an unproductive and downright frustrating call, have some humility. Think about the two or three things you can do differently the next time it happens.

It may not feel like it at the time, but a rude or dismissive client is actually a learning experience. It pushes you to take yourself to your next level, to evaluate your current systems and processes and up your game instead of being complacent.

As salespeople, we’re responsible to take control of the situation. Clients depend on us to lead.

And taking the lead is how we think big … Really Big.



Adapted from the 7 Minute Sales Minute podcast with Jon Dwoskin and Scott Fishman. Hear the entire episode or read the transcript here.