Salespeople must be good at managing conflict

The 4Rs Method of Conflict Management

Your customer is king. Sales 101 says that the customer is always right. But what happens when they aren’t? How does a salesperson manage conflict and resolve disputes that could bring promising sales negotiations to an abrupt halt?

In the workplace, a care-fronting approach can be used to address a breakdown in communication. In the sales arena, your salespeople are equipped with negotiating skills to help bring about compromise in the pursuit of a positive solution. This is summed up in the 4Rs method of conflict management.

R #1: Recognize Reasons

It is critical to analyze the conflict and recognize the reasons that have caused the conflict to exist. It is necessary to start with oneself before addressing the customer. A period of reflection and deeper self-awareness will help to avoid knee-jerk reactions.

It is also necessary to formulate the questions that must be answered to provide clarity – without which, effective resolution will be impossible. You’re seeking answers that will help you identify the genuine issue that needs to be resolved.

R #2: Respond Respectively and Measure Reactions

The most effective response is made in person, either face-to-face or on the phone. Rehearse your opening and ensure your description of the issue is understood by all. Be open and honest and seek to collaborate as you explore the negatives of the issue.

You will need to employ empathetic listening techniques to avoid making assumptions that create communication havoc and deteriorate relationships. Listening is crucial to understanding customer concerns, and to gain a measure of reactions.

R #3: Assess Results

Before managing an effective resolution, you must also understand how the current handling of conflict is working. You should also consider the results if the conflict remains unresolved. For example, it may mean that a sale is scaled back or cancelled.

Only when you understand the current situation fully and the potential impacts of not arriving at a successful resolution can you move on to develop a resolution.

R #4: Develop an Effective Resolution

With all concerns aired, you can now work collaboratively to develop an effective solution. You must agree on the nature of the conflict and what must be done to reach a successful resolution.

The resolution you develop should be a compromise that works for both parties, with a plan of action that puts into practice the resolution agreed.

Embed 4Rs Conflict Management into Organizational Culture

Your organizational culture affects how your people operate. How you train, supervise, manage and motivate your salespeople informs them of what you expect of them and communicates the way they should handle conflict within their team and with customers.

Embedding the 4Rs method of conflict resolution within your organizational culture will ensure that your salespeople take a more collaborative culture into sales meetings – and this should be positive for your sales numbers.

Contact us today, and discover how we help sales teams develop trusting relationships with their customers.


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