Delivering Bad News: Address the real problem
Regardless of the account, the people or the solution, our job in Sales often involves giving prospects bad news. Not only that, we sometimes do this after our competitors have already given them bad news. To make things even worse, there are times when the bad news we deliver is a different solution than our competitors.’ Now, we have a frustrated & upset prospect that is really confused! This is reality. You must approach it appropriately. Below are some tips on handling such situations:
Address the real problem:
The problem may no longer be “the problem you are there to solve.” Now, the problem could be “how are we going to pay for this?” OR “Why are there so many different solutions? I’m confused.”
Make that your focus. This is no longer a technical discussion about your excellent features & benefits. This is an emotional discussion. It’s not fun. It’s not easy. It’s serious. Be calm, nurturing & serious. Your approach to this is critical. Your body language, your tonality, your overall demeanor must be empathetic (put yourself in their shoes).
- “Oh boy . . . I have good news & bad news for you . . . which do you want first?”
- “Can we have a tough conversation?”
- “You have probably gone down this road with the other companies. So, here goes . . .”
- “Well, we might as well get down to reality . . .”
- “Are you ready? Better put your seat belt on . . .”
Third Party Stories
You have likely seen their situation (or very similar situations) hundreds of times. Let them know. Be real with them. Tell those stories. Again, be empathetic & nurturing.
- “Can I tell you about a situation we saw a few months ago?”
- “Let me tell you about an account we were in about 6 weeks ago.”
- “This is probably not what you want to hear, but this is very common. In fact, we were in a situation . . .
Let your competitors make it a technical discussion, an intellectual battle of wits. When you get to the real problem (& make it emotional) you’ll mop up the competition.