Written by Sean McPheat |
Loyal clients are always the best to deal with.
They offer opportunities to work with them at various levels and can support new initiatives that you are planning.
However, we sometimes find even these most patriotic of buyers can cause us challenges through raising objections or concerns. What should we do if we face this dilemma?
How should we deal with situations that are unexpected?
Here are some tips.
1) Keep close to the buyer to check on any sign of concerns
These are clients that we may have been working with for some time.
They have given us reasons why they keep on using us.
Their loyalty may send us into a false sense of security at times.
But it often means we can sense if there are any misgivings, doubts or issues.
Maybe it’s simply that they haven’t returned any of your calls or have ignored some emails you’ve sent.
Whatever it is, you need to be aware if there’s any deviation from the normal relationship you have with the buyer.
Sometimes, if you are worried, it would be best to raise the issue and ask straight out if everything is OK.
If something has gone awry, this is the time you need to nip it in the bud or check the satisfaction of the client.
It may be that other issues have taken the attention of the client, and they have been too busy to respond to you; but it would be good to uncover any concerns at this stage, just in case.
2) Find out if there have been issues you aren’t aware of
Many times, your client will also be in touch with other areas of your business other than just yourself, for instance, accounts, production control, warranty, customer care, or others that have relationships with your company.
Check in with those departments to ensure there isn’t anything that is causing concern and hasn’t been brought to your attention yet.
It does no harm to see if you’ve been kept out of the loop.
3) Uncover the concern and approach it head on
If you find there is a concern, approach it assertively and quickly.
The main difference between an objection from a prospect you are looking to start up with, and a client you have been working with for some time, is the nature of the relationship.
A client knows you and will be willing to discuss concerns in a different way than someone who has little to gain or lose in the relationship.
So approach it with the attitude of ‘Hey, whatever is concerning you, we can talk about it and sort something out here’.
You have definitely earned the right to have a discussion with the client to see what might be an obstacle to progressing with them, so don’t be afraid to approach it from an assertive position.
4) When a concern is uncovered, approach it with the attitude ‘this is important and I will deal with it’
More so than with many other concerns, a client’s objection needs to be considered at a different level.
If it’s a pricing issue and the client is checking out services with other suppliers, then you need to find out why.
Are your prices an issue for them?
If so, why now? Why haven’t they discussed the issue with you?
If they have concerns and haven’t raised them with you, ask yourself whether you have a close-enough relationship with them.
Does this send a message to you that you need to get closer to them?
Have you been apathetic towards serving them?
These questions get you to think deeper than normal about the relationship you have with them.
5) Work with them to deal with the objections and help them see the overall value you can still bring to them
Perhaps it’s just an issue that is easily solved.
Then you can ensure you’re there for them whenever they have another concern.
Make sure they know they can approach you on any matter.
If it’s harder to solve, work with them to clarify why it’s an issue, isolate it to ensure it’s the only concern they have, and consider the value the client has for your business.
If it’s a major account, see if you can move or trade some concessions to ensure they still feel loved by you.
Work hard on the continued relationship with them, as it’s important they see the value in being your client.
Ask them to be open with you if they have any future concerns as you would like to maintain and sustain the close ties you both have.
As with any relationship, you may go through some good times and some tough times.
An objection from an existing client who has been loyal to you should be seen as an opportunity to work with them at a close level, and when that’s done effectively, the win/win relationship should be cemented even more solidly.
Originally published: 15 January, 2019