A conscientious sales representative knows how to build relationships, meet customer needs and expectations, and conduct a benefit-based presentation. How can these structures of the sales process be built in contact with an unusual, sometimes difficult customer? How do you adapt yourself and the procedure to a customer with particular needs?

The second week at work. Andrew tries very hard to look his best in front of his colleagues and superiors. The sale of telecommunications services is demanding, but Andrew has experience. For six years, he worked at the franchise point for another network. He knows that commitment is the key to success.

Yesterday, one of his former corporate clients called him, saying that his father was looking for a suitable subscription for himself and asked if Andrew would help him. Andrew knows that such favours are of fundamental importance in attracting big customers and that he just received an opportunity that he cannot miss.

At 3 pm, an older man turned up in his office. After hearing the information about the offer, he began to inquire about the phones. The questions concerned both top-shelf devices and simple models intended for seniors. Andrew described each mobile professionally and thoroughly. It was evident that the client, despite his age, was well versed in the nuances. When the questions about the operation of the internet network, distribution of antennas, bandwidth, and system solutions came up, Andrew became impatient. At the end of the conversation, it turned out that the client needs the cheapest subscription, without a telephone, and questions arose out of curiosity. The old man was an engineer, he is bored alone at home, so a visit to the store was an attraction for him. Fortunately, in this case the salesman’s involvement paid off because the work collaboration with the meeting organiser took place afterwards, but the answer to the question: “Is it worth investing in untypical clients?” is not always obvious.

In addition to older people, clients with particular needs include those with disabilities, foreigners, clients who are difficult due to past experience and also premium customers. Each of these groups requires a slightly different approach, sometimes even breaking the existing procedures in the company and adapting to the situation. Below is a description of the basic principles applicable to the service of non-typical customers.

Group 1: Seniors

With the right approach, it is a very grateful group of clients. You have to be careful, however, about the time you devote to them. Identify their abilities and needs as soon as possible, which can be difficult due to communication problems. When serving seniors, it is often necessary to have several meetings to complete a transaction which, in the case of other clients, would be closed during the first meeting. It often happens that the decision-makers who order or participate in the purchase are invisible (for example with the senior who buys the dream console for his grandson as a surprise present). In this situation, you may have to reach the decision-maker and have a telephone conversation with them to get more detailed information.

Unfortunately, seniors can be subject to abuse in sales. It is worth remembering that for almost every senior, there is someone younger who can get involved in the enforcement of rights and effective devaluation of the representative’s brand and/or the company who treated them as an easy customer to cheat. In your work, you should be led by ethics and honesty - it always pays off.

In communication with seniors:

  • Use the simplest language.
  • Explain phrases that may seem obvious to you.
  • Do not elaborate on the intricate product features that require the specialized language of the industry.
  • Get trust, learn about the needs and direct your purchase to a specific product, without entering into its technical features (these principles are effective in servicing every client, but in the case of serving seniors, are especially worth noting).
  • Do not judge the senior’s financial ability too quickly - it often happens that the client, when a product is intended for a gift to a loved one and is properly presented, will decide on a more expensive option, as being better, more durable, etc.
  • Ask about forms of financing - seniors often use instalment purchases, and banks are happy to give them short-term loans.

Determination of the client’s financial capabilities

In determining the financial capability of seniors and any other group of clients, it is helpful to establish the price range of the transaction:

- What amount did you allocate to the above product/service?

This question does not imply the message that the client can or cannot afford something, nor does it put them in a difficult situation, but makes it possible to determine the financial realities.

Group 2: People with disabilities

This is a group of clients requiring patience and special commitment. As far as the customer service procedures are concerned - we work just as we would with any other customer. However, you must remember a few rules.

The customer’s difficulties may first become apparent from the way they move. If he is with an assistant, leave the help to the assistant. If he is alone, gently ask him if he needs help and, if so, what can you do. Do not help chaotically or nervously, because instead of providing help, that may hurt the client.

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