Delivering Bad News: Address the real problem

delivering Bad News

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).


  1. “Oh boy . . . I have good news & bad news for you . . . which do you want first?”
  2. “Can we have a tough conversation?”
  3. “You have probably gone down this road with the other companies. So, here goes . . .”
  4. “Well, we might as well get down to reality . . .”
  5. “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.

  1. “Can I tell you about a situation we saw a few months ago?”
  2. “Let me tell you about an account we were in about 6 weeks ago.”
  3. “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.

Posted in

Dave Tear

Dave is passionate about selling & helping others understand the sales process. Whether a client company has a 5 person sales team or a 300 person National sales force, Dave can Coach & Train them to be the best in their industry.
Get in Touch

Ready for Your Sales Team to Take it to the Next Level?

Dave's helped dozens upon dozens of companies up their sales game. Find out how he can help your team take it to the next level!

Also from the Sales Coach's Corner...

Motivation Does Not Work!

There! I said it. Owners of Companies, Presidents,  VPs of Sales & Sales Managers ... HEAR THIS... You ...
Read More

Sales is nothing more than setting expectations

How many times have you left a sales appointment... walked to your car in the parking lot... & ...
Read More

The rules have changed in sales

The rules have changed for Salespeople! Prospects are more educated than they have ever been before. Companies are ...
Read More