Negative customer feedback is one of the less pleasant aspects of selling. No one enjoys repetitive customer questions,
the rejection of a sale, or a customer complaint. But you can easily turn the situation around. Learn from these sales techniques.

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Handling questions, rejection and complaints

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by Kevin Nunley

Negative customer feedback is one of the less pleasant aspects of selling. No one enjoys repetitive customer questions, the rejection of a sale, or a customer complaint. But you can easily turn the situation around. Learn from these sales techniques.

Instead of becoming frustrated with customer complaints and questions, learn from them and increase your sales.

One of the best gifts your customers can give you just happens to be among the most time consuming. From time to time you will notice customer after customer asks the same question.

This happened to me when just about everyone who inquired about my press release service wanted to know if they could approve the release before it was sent to thousands of media.

Soon after that a new web page paragraph in bold red letters proclaimed, "We send your release to you for your approval before it goes to media." Sales jumped.

Watch for recurring questions. It's a sign there is an important customer concern that isn't being covered in your marketing and sales materials. Correcting the oversight can give you an immediate boost.

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No matter what you sell, dealing with rejection is part of the job. Some people are better at it than others. For those of us who work on the Net, rejection wears soft shoes (if your ad doesn't work you don't get hits to your site...a lot easier than having an angry prospect close the door on your foot.)

I know a guy who relishes the thought of selling ads door to door. "Rejection" isn't in his vocabulary.

Here are some steps for handling rejection:

  • Listen attentively to the prospect's objection. Keep in mind that they are giving you valuable information. They are telling you why they don't want to buy. This points out ways you can give the prospect more information. More often than not, an objection is really just a request for more information.
  • Repeat the objection back to the prospect. Say, "Now, if I understand you correctly, you feel that the product may not work as well as we claim." Here's a great chance for you to whip out more points like statistical data or testimonials from satisfied customers.
  • Once you have answered the prospect's objection, change the subject slightly. This is the stock-in-trade of politicians (who, after all, are in the business of selling, too). It allows you to get the prospect onto a more important subject, one that will lead to a sale.

Every business gets customers who complain about, among other things, a product, a service, a new look, a price hike, or a change in policy.

Business owners and managers often become alarmed when someone complains. They figure that a single complaint represents the feelings of many people. If they get two people complaining about the same thing, many are sure the entire customer base is unhappy.

When you get complaints, does it mean you've made a mistake or that it's time to change a product or policy? Not necessarily.

Think carefully about whether the complaint is representative of the feelings of an isolated individual or a small group of customers. You can't please everyone. You may be pleasing a large group of customers (who you don't hear from) while the same policy brings complaints from a few.

It's important to make this distinction before making changes in response to a complaint.

Once you have determined that a complaint is serious, address it immediately and make the necessary changes. You might even drop a note to the unhappy customer telling them about your change. They will be impressed by your concern, and won't automatically rule you out of future business.

Negative customer feedback must always be viewed as an opportunity for improvement. The serious evaluation of customer complaints and questions is a necessary and effective way of learning from our mistakes, and ultimately increasing sales.

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lower prices! Reach Kevin at or 801-253-

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