When you hear from an angry customer, it’s easy to get the impression that they hate you. They hate your company. And they’ll never do business with you again.

Actually, it’s a little more positive than that.

Researchers from Babson University surveyed 198 buyers and discovered a surprising upside to customers’ anger: It means that the customer hasn’t given up on you yet. The researchers found that customers get angry when they “believe they can potentially alter and/or seek a remedy for a negative event.”

In other words, what they really want is for you to help them.

Unfortunately, the same researchers found that even experienced sales professionals often respond in ways that make things worse. They become angry themselves. Or defensive. Or they try to turn down the heat with soothing language.

Angry buyers don’t want a lullaby. They don’t want platitudes. All they want is to know that YOU are the person who can fix their problem.

When you approach the conversation from that perspective, you’re much more likely to be able to defuse the situation – and, possibly, turn a hostile buyer into one who sings your praises.

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