A reader writes: “We just experienced a rough meeting with a prospect who was belligerent, abusive and downright offensive. Any suggestions would be appreciated.”

I realize you really want to get your foot in the door with this customer and can relate to past experiences where I could not figure what was going on. Following are a few observations that may work for you but no guarantees on this one.

  1. Were they having a bad day? It may be simply that your timing was off due to health, children, other events that had nothing to do with you or your company. Some people are very private and do not welcome any intrusion in their personal lives. Be careful.
  2. What is the history of this negotiation? Are they being forced to deal with you due to politics or internal connections? If so, you need to find a way of identifying and dealing with their concerns.
  3. Is this their way of negotiating through intimidation? If so, they may have experienced success in the past by either driving down the price or cowing the building service contractor into submission.
  4. Do they treat all vendors like this or are you the exception? If so, why and how can you resolve it?
  5. What do they really want from the negotiations? Have you misread their needs or intentions? If they have already chosen the vendor and are simply going through the motions then this may be a lost cause.
  6. Have you tried swapping out your negotiators with someone else on staff to see if they are treated the same?

All I can do is encourage patience and persistence since we have oftentimes outlasted the person across the table and when they were replaced by someone else, got the contract.

Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.