How to Deal with Passive Aggressive Sales Prospects

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Sales reps have to sell, no matter what. It doesn’t matter what kind of sales prospects they have to deal with. At the end of the day, it is the quality or the quantity of the sale that matters. Organizations don’t need to know what kind of prospects sales reps had to deal with, before they actually were converted to your customer.

Over a period of time during the career of a rep, one gets to see sales prospects who are quite calm and difficult to gather information. There are certain prospects who are loyal to their existing suppliers and do not want to switch. However, one of the most tangled sales prospects are those who are passively aggressive and on many occasions, tend to not agree with your point of view. These are prospects who can get to your nerves and as a sales rep, it becomes difficult to keep your cool and finish the tasks at hand.

We at Inside Sales Box know how precarious the above-mentioned situation can turn out to be, and here we have tried to list a few ways that can help you go a long way while encountering such prospects.

  1. Adopt their Instincts: With passive aggressive sales prospects, you often have to adopt their sense of urgency. Although calmness often prevails over aggressive instincts, but at the same time, with passively aggressive prospects it is important to not to let them feel that you are too complacent and laid back. With the nature these prospects have, you can never ever rely on your calm demeanour alone, as they have the tendency to move to the next available option. Therefore, it is important to show them that you have a sense of urgency that is needed to get their work done and are very serious with the consistent pressure being dished out.

  2. Add the Name of the Referrer: This is nothing more than an experiment. When you have a referrer to add in your mail or during a conversation, there are high chances that even a passively aggressive prospect may look to curb their aggression as they would know the person who referred you. Hence, with these prospects, it may not be a bad idea to use the name of the referrer. At the same time, it is important to be aware of the fact that such an experiment could be helpful only once or a couple of times, as this practice is not reliable enough to guarantee you success that you look for.

  3. Be True to Yourself: This may sound a bit philosophical, but, most of the time you will have a fair idea about the kind of prospect you are dealing with, and whether they are passively aggressive. Once you find out that the type of prospect, do not try to give them any deadline that cannot be met. Before opting for the timeline, think deep about what is achievable and what is not. Give a thumbs up only if you feel that the particular task is achievable in the given period of time, else, you may have to face the brunt of their anger later. This tactic can be used more if you are trying to avoid a situation where, you do not want to deal with someone who is subtly hostile in their approach.

  4. The Silent Treatment: This is one of those strategies that can go either ways. This can work wonders with those prospects who like to be listened to. There are certain prospects who are assertive to a great extent and just want to keep on speaking and do not intend to listen to the person at the other end of the table. Therefore, with these type of prospects, silent treatment might be a good idea.
    Similarly, there are certain passive aggressive prospects who do not like their solution provider to be calm and silent. Thus, choosing this methodology can backfire with prospects as you might end up losing them and at the same time, might have to bear their displeasure. In order to be safe, and make sure that you do not lose them, you can end up with a small statement – “I will get back to you within a couple of days”. This will not guarantee success, but will give you ample time to think about what needs to be done and at the same time help you and the prospect to calm the tone down.

  5. Don’t Be Afraid To Let Go: At times, it may not be a bad idea to let passive aggressive sales prospects go and as a rep, you should be on your own terms. However, to be successful as a sales rep in the longer run, try to make it clear to them that you want to work with them and also help them in finding out the right solution for their problem. This helps you manage your sales funnel better. Moreover, if at any point in time you feel that you are not going anywhere, do not be afraid to let these prospects go. Make sure that you are not showing any sign of irritation or anger as it will not help you at all.

As said earlier, passively aggressive sales prospects are the most difficult ones to interact with as they do not give you a chance to speak. The moment you try to retort, you end up in trouble. Though, it is important to maintain your methods and have a set plan, at the same time you need to be quick enough to adapt.

Also Read: 5 Dead Giveaways that your Sales Team is Dysfunctional

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