Delivering BAD NEWS

The ability to communicate effectively and in such a way that the other person gets on board with you, is the difference maker between successful people and those who believe that they are just unlucky. Communicating with a customer happens at multiple levels of the marketing and sales process, and includes both delivering good and bad news.

For those of you that are unaware, a lot of my marketing and sales approach, also stems from my background as a Martial Arts Instructor in Hand to Hand combat. Not physically, but in the mental state, and in some of the techniques used to deliver a certain message. The most common and effective technique I teach amateurs, is the 1-2 combo. What that basically is, is a left-right punch (for the right handed), or the right-left (for the left handed).

Why is this effective? Because the first attack is often expected and countered, and it is the second one that hits target. How does that translate to sales and communicating a message?

Assuming you have to deliver bad news to customers, always try to deliver them with something else bit more positive, and do so in a 1-2 combo. For instance, recently we have had a situation where one of my customers had a problem with their vehicle. The part that was needed was expensive (about 900 euros) and not covered under warranty. So how should I deliver these news to the customer? I couldn’t just deliver it like that, because in that case, you are open for the counterattack. This is how I delivered it : “Good day xxxxx. The issue with the vehicle is not covered under the warranty, and the part is costing at about 900 euros. If you say so however, I will have the garage work all night and have the car ready for you by tomorrow “.

In another instance, there was a delay on a replacement part, so I had to call up and inform the customer of this delay. Here is the 1-2 combo used in this situation: “Hi xxxx. I have just had an update that the part expected has a delay of about 3 weeks. However, due to this, if you are in need of a vehicle for the meantime I can provide you with one until the part arrives”. Again, 1-2 combo.

Always remember that part of the sales process is not just delivering good, but also bad news. So if you have to do so, always remember to take your time and come up with a 1-2 combination. This will soften up to some extend the impact of the bad news you have to deliver. It takes skill and tact to be able to properly formulate how to deliver an undesired message to a customer, so use this method next time you are in this situation and see the impact it will have on the conversation.

Thank you for taking the time to read this through. All comments and feedback are welcomed, so leave yours below.


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