Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How to break the “NO” or negative news

In business, saying no is very difficult as it usually hurts clients and may turn them away forever. But, sometimes saying NO or declining an offer or even announcing a critical delay in shipment becomes inevitable – so what to do in that situation? Well this has to be dealt with very carefully, intelligently and with a bit of shrewdness.

Often, the usual approach is to send an e-mail or a letter, thus shielding behind words and letters rather than facing the client or customer in a manner that ensures a no-hurt feeling besides retaining the client as well.

Here a few tips that may work out a safer strategy rather than a grudging client storming into your office and @#$%%%@@##, you know what I mean.
  • First of all a NO to a proposal, offer or suggestions should never be sent electronically or through courier a service. Receiving a rejection through an indirect means can act like a bombshell, or could even cause a stroke if the client was hinging everything on the deal in question. So what to do? Well good companies always call over the clients over a cup of tea for “discussion” on the proposal or deal and then very intelligently creating an atmosphere in which the client is readied to listen to a decline or a rejection. This way one may win over the heart of the client in favour of the company who could tell others of the “graciousness” of your staff for having called them over rather than sending a usual rejection letter.
  • These days, there is trend of sending a custom made reply to customers or clients through e-mails of saying a NO or anything to that effect. This shows a non-personal and mechanical approach, devoid of sentiments and that personal touch that c company must establish with its clients and customers. Some clients or customers consider such acts as disinterested approach and company’s inability to reach out to its customers or clients personally. Wouldn't it be better to as the customer services to pick up a telephone and talk it over personally? The bigger or more the potential level of client, more level should be raised in the company to establish a contact. It would be equally bad for a lower staff to talk to a CEO of the company on the other end. Ask some senior manager to do this.
  • Good companies never commit serious issues or matters in writing that could later become an embarrassment. Even such matter should not be discussed on telephones as these can be taped. So either sue a personal contact or use the company’s “chat” facility using internet as this cannot be copied for later reproduction to embarrass you on some forum or even legally.

  • Likewise a written excuse sent either through e-mail or postal service can be used by a rival company in their favour and to your discredit. If the shipment is being delayed or an order cannot be honoured in the stipulated time frame, use direct means that cannot be recorded. All written actions will be treasure in the hands of rivals, who would know the state of affairs in your company, such as delays in shipment due to financial constraints or non-availability of raw material etc. So be on the lookout how to make an excuse for a delay which doesn't harm your company’s interests.
  • And last of all, if you happen to be interacting with a nasty client or customer, who is delaying shipments or payments, do not send a deadline or an ultimatum in writing. Such actions should always be talked over across the table as one may find at the end that a discussion finally made the other party succumb to your concerns and agreed to deliver the shipment in time or make the payments as earlier agreed. Having your legal aide by your side would be an added advantage as he could interject with legal options which the other party may not be taking into consideration.
These are just a few tips of resorting to a more personal touch rather than using any type of mails to do business with your partners, clients and customers. You will find these much to your advantage both in management of clients as well as raising the confidence of all those who are in business with you. 


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