How do you service a difficult customer who is negative, narrow-minded and not open to suggestions or recommendations?
I easily sold my food products to 5 customers on the first visit. None of them were interested in any of the free marketing or advertising, sample tastings, promotional ad campaigns I had to offer. They all marked the price up to 3x the suggested retail price and cannot sell it, now 7 months later. They aren't interested in answering questions or solving the problem, they only want to complain.
Hi Julie. Difficult as it is, the first thing you need to do is step back, take a deep breath and put yourself in your customers shoes. They invested in a product that hasn't sold and the first person they will blame, is you. You're front line canon fodder. That's sales. Rejection is the salespersons enemy. We don't handle failure well, do we ? So, nows the time to get creative and also consider what you might have done wrong, too. Firstly, did you over promise ? Apologise. Did you overestimate the sales price ? Apologise. The first route to correcting a mistake is admitting you've got one. They will respect you for this. Next, set a strategy for them. If the goods are not perished and still saleable, offer to do a tasting and promotion session in their store for them. Yes, you. If you can't sell it, they certainly can't. Make sure that you practice and do it well. Be happy. Use enthusiasm, an upbeat tone and great body language. Yes, you may need to discount (slightly) at these sessions but get an upfront promise from your customer...."If I can turn this around, will you buy more? I want to re-build your trust in me". Ask your distributor/ supplier how they can help.....promotional goodies/ pop-up stand/ banners/ local advertising/ strut cards/ fliers etc. Hope this helps, don't be downhearted and good luck !
If you are confident enough in the product simply make them an offer in writing
"Don't complain about my products in your store - I will buy them back from you"
Offer to take them all back if they let you do the promoting & they don't sell.
Let them know of another place that successfully sells lots at less mark-up
What kind of complaints is your customer doing? Did you get to analyze them?
Ask the customer lots of open-ended questions. Get them to talk and let them vent. Just listen non-judgmentally. If you know the unique value proposition of your products, that's great. But this customer couldn't care less. But they do care about eliminating whatever their "pain" is. This customer's objection isn't necessarily price. Probe to see what's the real issue, and how your products alleviate it. Also, talk about something not related to the business. Create a more personal rapport and build a relationship around a mutual liking and interests. When they complain, acknowledge and validate their concerns. Pause before you speak, then reiterate their concerns in your own words, "so, what you're saying is ..." so they can hear back what they've said to you. Make the solution a joint venture so they think they solved it themselves.
A reframing exercise might help: http://reframe.thnk.org
Sometimes, we must also admit that some clients are not worth the trouble.
Hope this helps!
You have to let them go! Just like an employee that constantly refuses to follow instruction and creates disharmony within your business. Eventually you have to decide that your time is valuable! Time is the stuff your life is made of! How valuable is your life?? :)
Try to find out what is boardering him. And if you found a way [ reason] to help him with this personal problem. Think he will be for the rest of his life your customer. Because he owes you that much. Feeling better, help to see his own problem. So he got this little tick, to change in a better person.
When faced with what I consider an unreasonable customer complaint, I ask the complainer, "What do you think would be fair for me to do?"
Some people give a thoughtful and respectful response in which case I will usually meet the request.
Some people are simply angry and nothing you could do in their minds would be fair. If such a person makes an unreasonable request as to what is fair (shoot the employee who did this, burn down your store and declare bankruptcy :-) ), I simply reply, "I really wish I could unfortunately I can't."
The approach is to be reasonable with them in hopes that it will be reciprocated. If it isn't, move on. They are not the type of customer you either want or need.
Please understand that this is my personal opinion and what I have learnt from my leadership course, I hope what I say comes across correctly. It sounds like maybe you need a shift in your attitude towards your business. You sound like you are trying extremely hard to keep these customers and it is probably showing. Although you may not mean to come across as needy, but when this happens your vibration tends to repel. You need to understand that your product is of value and your time is valuable and they need you not the other way around. The benefit of having your own business is you get to choose who you do business with. Do you do any form of personal development as this will help you in changing your perspective and overcome limiting beliefs. Feel free to reach out if you are interested in discussing it further.
As Remy said, let them go. By setting RRP you as the producer set the value of your product as you value it. You probably did market research and know how much your product is worth.
By raising the price 3x higher they are not playing by the book and the are putting your business at stake as well, because you are being characterized as overpriced to the general public. And it is in your best interest that potential future consumers don't get that image of you. So they could be doing more damage to your future than you think.