If you're in sales, difficult clients are inevitable. Some people don't understand why they can't buy wholesale for retail prices.
Some people do not understand that they aren't your only client. Some people do not understand that common courtesy can go a long way. But money that comes from those who are impatient, unreasonable or just plain mean, is just as good as that which comes from your most temperate clients.
Follow this guide to not losing your cool - or the sale:
Turn the other cheek
Resist the urge to fight back. When someone yells, it's natural to want to return fire but getting into a spitting contest with a customer, current or potential, will gain you absolutely nothing – ever. It's your ego's job to say, "No one talks to me that way" and respond to an insult with an insult. This is not your personal life - it's your job.
By letting your pride trick you into thinking that what's important is to win the argument, you're surrendering to your emotions and crawling into the gutter with an idiot who wants something for nothing. It's a lose/lose. He can move on to your competitors but you have nowhere to go but down. If patience isn't a virtue you possess, you're in the wrong business.
Don't be a doormat
Don't take "turn the other cheek" to mean "stand there and take a beating." Don't allow yourself to be bullied or intimidated into giving into unreasonable demands. Appeasement only makes a bully more aggressive. If you give him a piece of toast, he'll come back for the whole loaf of bread.
Draw your line, stand your ground, and if you have to, walk away. You're a salesperson. Sell. Bargain. Compromise. But don't be steamrolled because you've been told your whole life that the customer is always right. Sometimes the customer is very, very wrong, and no deal is worth your reputation. Sometimes as a salesperson, you have to swallow your pride - but never your better judgment or respect.
Dig out the nugget of truth
When someone becomes unreasonable, it is easy and natural to write them off and disregard their entire position. However, underneath their bluster may be some hidden wisdom that's there for the taking. Try to listen to what they're saying instead of how they're saying it.
Perhaps there is room for improvement on your end, and by acknowledging that, you may be able to soothe them and improve your tactics. Listen to their point instead of their tone.
Don't pass the buck
Resist the urge to hand off the problem to a higher up unless it's absolutely necessary. Getting passed off to a whole new person to whom they have to explain the issue all over again will only further enrage an already prickly client.
If they ask to "speak to a supervisor," it's often a veiled threat designed to get you to buckle under the guise that they'll tattle on you to the boss. Explain that they're speaking to the appropriate person and you're certain you can work to find the middle ground. If they demand to speak to a higher up, oblige.
A salesperson, by definition, is in the business of getting people to part with their money. The task is difficult and requires a balance of finesse, sincerity, and confidence. Above all else, it is a people job. And people can be difficult. When they are, don't meet force with force, don't give in, and don't give up.