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Dealing with Unprofessional Customers

In sales, we all manage customers and deal with their shit. As sales reps, dealing with rude customers can make or break our year if it means keeping them around. Other times, they make you hate your job and question being in sales.


I started on an account a few months back that was in rough shape. Tried to grab it by the horns and make them happy - admitting our faults and trying to make up for it. My team has gone above and beyond to provide time and resources to help. The customer has now turned frustration into being straight up rude and unprofessional towards me. The customer resorted to name calling in emails and cursing us out on the phone, but myself and my team have remained professional throughout. I am at the point where I do not want to work with a customer who is simply down right rude.


How would you deal with a customer who is extremely unprofessional?

How would you handle this type of client?
Attached poll
*Voting in this poll no longer yields commission.
🏰 War Stories
πŸ‘‘ Sales Strategy
3
salesnerd
WR Officer
+16
Head of Growth
I think calling it out in a professional manner is the right move, especially if you can do it in a way that makes them feel like the jerk they're being.Β 
emerge.life
Good Citizen
Field Sales Development Executive
This, and ask yourself, how important are they to you, and is your time worth it?
AlecBaldwinsHairline
Valued Contributor
+5
SDR Manager
There's a lot of ways to handle it.Β  I think depending on the company you work for you can't truly call out the behavior, but for sure bring it to management.

If it's about crazy asks, respond with the Voss method of "Help me understand, how am I supposed to do that?".
DadFather
Politicker
+5
Enterprise Account Executive
Agree to some extent - I started my introduction to the customer with β€œhelp me understand how i can help” which has now turned into demands for free software, unreasonable asks, and abusive behavior.Β 

Thanks for the mgmt recommendation - will certainly bring it up!
AlecBaldwinsHairline
Valued Contributor
+5
SDR Manager
I would recommend reading Chris Voss' "Never Split the Difference".

He's got some great ways to handle conflict resolution and showing people how outlandish their requests can be.
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Re
RedLightning
Politicker
+7
Mid-Market AE
With someone like that, I'd imagine you'd get a "figure it out, that's why we pay you" type response.Β 
AlecBaldwinsHairline
Valued Contributor
+5
SDR Manager
IF they are a bad manager yes.
funcoupons
WR Officer
+11
up in Fiji, under paddy
When it crosses from expressing frustration towards a process/system/product to being inappropriate towards a person, it's time to call the client out and tell them that abusive language toward staff will not be tolerated anymore. If they refuse to act like a professional, fire them as a client.
washedD1soccer
Politicker
+3
Territory Manager
Some of the best advice I’ve ever received is to choose your customers just like they would choose to work with you. Some customers are not worth your time even with the promise of short term revenue.Β 
DadFather
Politicker
+5
Enterprise Account Executive
Great advice - there needs to be mutual respect and just because they are a client, does not create an excuse for unprofessional behavior.Β 
SaleTeam6
Politicker
+2
Senior Sales Development Representative
One of the best pieces of advice I got from a mentor was β€˜all money is not good money.’ Β I get every situation may be a little different, but if it is not a one off and this IS the customer. Nothing you can say or do is β€˜good enough.’ So, You’ve got to save your (and your team’s) time, energy, and emotion. Someone else wants your business, find the next prospect/customer.Β 
1nbatopshotfan
Politicker
+5
Senior Director, Enterprise Technology
Call it out professionally, bring in someone a tier above your boss to build an executive relationship or sponsorship, and if it doesn’t change, walk away.Β 
KnightKingORL
Opinionated
+2
Account Executive
Don't call them out it's just one prospect. Move on to the next one. They always come back
DadFather
Politicker
+5
Enterprise Account Executive
They are an existing customer doing a complicated upgrade & I have a smaller list of large accounts so it’s hard to step away when accounts are limited
KnightKingORL
Opinionated
+2
Account Executive
Rip that’s what Customer Success is forΒ 
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
Call it out for sure. Either they will acknowledge it and change or they won't care and keep it up. Assuming they chose the latter, at that point I would fire this customer.
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What are your strategies/communications styles when dealing with irrational clients?
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