Saturday, July 11, 2009

Customer Moods

We all have moods. Customers included. We all vary in our traits, outlooks, and opinions. As salespeople we must recognize the changing moods of the customers we call on and adapt to a particular mood at a particular time.

Moods can change a person's outlook from time to time. Let's take an example of what happened to me.
I was calling on a man who I always thought was an even tempered individual, but when I called on him this time he was short, curt and down right hostile. Very out of character for him. So much so that I considered never calling on him again, or at the very least calling on him much less frequently. Before I did anything drastic I paused a moment and reflected. Perhaps he was in a bad mood, nervous about something, tired, or had some family problems. Okay, so I wasn't welcomed cordially, he was down right nasty. What should you do? I still wanted his business but not at the price of being abused.

Let me tell you how I handled it. Sometimes pressure and worry can change a person's mood and change decent people into ogres. I kept my cool. Acted as congenial as possible and didn't force the meeting further. I made some positive comments and facts about my products and left leaving a positive foundation for my next call. I decided that just because the mood on this particular day left something to be desired I wouldn't give up. I would call again and see if there was a change in this customer's attitude.

After all I left as professionally as one could under the circumstances, and if he remembered the situation perhaps he would think better of me for putting up with him in his strident state. Next time I called the air was a bit cool but nothing like the previous call, he seemed a bit ill at ease. On the next call the conditions were much more relaxed and although he didn't apologize he did work into the conversation the fact that he had had some family problems several weeks back and had been in a bad mood for weeks. I'm not going to tell you that we became fast and true friends but, he always maintained a professional manner with me after that and we were able to do business for a long time. He got the best out of me as a salesperson and I made plenty of money from the account

Salespeople who classify a customer as tough, nasty or overbearing only see half the picture. By devising a strategy for dealing with customer moods we can better handle them when we encounter them. If I suspected the customer was in a mood:

- I would let them lead the interview.
- I would slow down or speed up to conform to their pace.
- I would look and listen for reactions to my suggestions and change my pace accordingly adapting to their mood changes, that was key.

You can sometimes recognize a customer's moods by appearance, words and actions. When we observe and consciously try to understand these moods we can choose a strategy to handle them effectively. This approach will pay dividends by putting you in the same frame of mind as the customer thereby making it easier to understand and deal with them.

Thank You,
Joe D'Ambra
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