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QUIZ: Coping with a Customer Argument

SCENARIO: You're presenting your solution to a group of stakeholders. Unexpectedly, an argument about your offering breaks out between two factions within the prospect's firm. The argument grows heated and there's real tension in the room.

Here's a quick quiz:


Click here to get the correct answer »


SCENARIO: You're presenting your solution to a group of stakeholders. Unexpectedly, an argument about your offering breaks out between two factions within the prospect's firm. The argument grows heated and there's real tension in the room.

Here's a quick quiz:


WRONG: Use your unique perspective to resolve the conflict. You can be absolutely certain this isn't the first time that these groups have duked it out -- and it won't be the last. If you try to intervene, they'll just get angry at you for trying to resolve their long-standing conflicts. It's like intervening in a fight between two spouses. The minute you insert yourself, all the bad feelings from both sides will immediately focus onto you.

WRONG: End the meeting and put this "opportunity" on hold. You may think that the argument scuttles the deal, but in fact you've been handed the keys to the kingdom. You just learned exactly what each of the stakeholders really wants out of the sale. For example, you may have found out that the accounting department is more interested in costs while the engineering department wants a certain feature. It's all out in the open now, thereby making it possible for you to hit all the bases, and close the deal.

CORRECT: Observe the interchange, then summarize the situation. Your best move is to wait until the conflict has run its course during the meeting, summarize the positions of the various participants and then try to move forward to work out details that will satisfy everyone's concerns. In many cases, it may be necessary to individually with the stakeholders (after the meeting, of course) and then close the deal on a subsequent sales call.

BTW, while the situation above is far from a disaster, it's better yet to avoid the conflict by contacting everyone who's going to be at a key meeting... before the meeting starts. Review the agenda and find out the critical needs of each stakeholder. That way you can have a solution in place which satisfies all the stakeholders.

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