In life and annuity sales and in client service, confrontation can be a sticking point. Avoiding confrontation is a natural human tendency, but how we handle a confrontation can become a defining moment for a relationship or prevent a small problem from evolving into a disaster.
Here’s a personal example: One of my daughters helps to teach a dance class. She got invited to a concert, and had a month to let the primary instructor know that she couldn’t be there one night to help. My daughter went to three weeks of classes, and never said a word. The week of the concert, she went to a class, didn’t say anything, went home, and sent a text that she couldn’t attend. By then, it was too late to find a replacement, and we forced her to skip the concert to teach her class for the sake of her relationship with the dance school and the obvious lessons learned.
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You probably aren’t shirking your duties as a dance instructor, but our habits as adults are often not much different from the choices children make. Too often we see a difficult conversation on the horizon and we spend weeks or months outright avoiding it and some quality self-talk as to why it’s okay to do that. We make it okay in our minds. We don’t want to anger or upset a colleague or client, and we are probably afraid of what might happen if we do.
If your goal is to retain clients and to grow your business, you should not run from confrontation. If a hard conversation has to happen, do not put it off. Address it early and with professionalism so that it does not fester. A confrontation is actually an important opportunity to not only solve a problem but also to strengthen a relationship. How you handle what could be a challenging situation can actually elevate the client experience.
Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes what the client wants is not what the client needs. Sometimes a miscommunication can steer a project off track. Be up front and have a dialog as soon as you identify the problem.