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Friday Poll: How Do You Disengage from a Long-winded Client?

    • 1255 posts
    June 16, 2011 11:50 PM PDT

    Happy Friday, everyone!

    Here is the scenario for this week's poll question: 

    You're trying to wrap up a sales call with a client who likes to talk . . . and talk and talk.  You don't want to be rude, but you have to go.

    How do you politely disengage from a conversation -- whether on the phone or face-to-face -- with a long-winded client?

    Looking forward to reading your answers!

    • 19 posts
    June 17, 2011 6:50 AM PDT

    I JUST had this happen this week when I was face to face with a client. He was rambling on and on. We had luckily wrapped up the proposal part of the meeting and he started in on his new boat, his place at the lake and his grandkids coming to visit yada yada yada. I told him I was very interested in hearing about this, but I had to be at another appointment across town in 20 minutes. I asked him if we could continue the conversation over lunch or coffee early next week. Now here's the key - if you use this, MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW UP AND REALLY TAKE THE CLIENT TO LUNCH OR COFFEE! He declined the offer due to having several employees off next week, but I was prepared to have that appointment if necessary. It DID get me out of his office though :)

    Happy Selling!

    • 7 posts
    June 17, 2011 7:03 AM PDT
    I would be polite, But I would say that, I had another appointment scheduled,and if he or she like, I would gladly reschedule time to finish up our conversation.
  • June 17, 2011 7:16 AM PDT

    Something I do to head this off at the pass if you would is set a time frame before the meeting starts.  I go in saying I have usually about 45mins and that gives me an out if I need it.  For the especially long winded I say I have another meeting scheduled that I need to get to.  Have a great weekend everyone.


    • 6 posts
    June 17, 2011 8:37 AM PDT
    Will you look at the time???  I am scheduled to help *another* good client, in just a few minutes.  Thank you for your time and your opinions!  We'll talk again soon, about your next agreement!
    • 34 posts
    June 17, 2011 9:37 AM PDT
    I usually say something similar to the below.  "I'm so sorry I have to run, but I enjoyed talking with you." And then I recap anything I need to follow up with them on.  Usually I really am late so my urgency is palattable. lol  I live in a small town so I usually try to give my clients the time they need to talk when I can.
    • 54 posts
    June 17, 2011 10:06 AM PDT
    In some cases just getting the floor is half the battle. I jump in with both feet at appropriate time offering agreement, or pertinent comment, ("yeah those Cannucks reallly struggled, wow, I agree") and here's the trick, to organically connect your wrap up of the meeting to what you just said, (which I believe is the leadership they require, and look to us to provide). Thank them for their time, and, (knowing you could fall in again), ask no questions, don't even recap. Announce plans, timing, and motion to leave, If done right, it feels natural, at will to you, because nothing is more natural than self-preservation.
    • 22 posts
    June 17, 2011 11:22 AM PDT

    Face-to-face... stand-up.  When there is an appropriate break or pause in the conversation stand-up and say "you have been so gracious with your time with me today and I know that time is every businesses most precious commodity.  Thank you for your time. I'll need to get back and get to work on your (restate the next step: appointment, presentation, commercial approval, etc). Then leave. (BTW - Standing up will get someone out of your office too).


    On the phone...  same thing just stated verbally. When there is an appropriate break or pause say "Oh my. I can't believe its __________ (state the time). You have been so gracious with your time with me today and I know that time is every businesses most precious commodity.  Thank you for visiting with me today, I'll get to work on your (restate the next step: appointment, presentation, commercial approval, etc). Have a great day!" Then hangup.

    • 6 posts
    June 17, 2011 11:54 AM PDT
    This is great wording, " have been so gracious with your time..." Thanks!
    • 269 posts
    June 17, 2011 12:44 PM PDT
    Kathy... you NAILED it!

    By the way, maybe we should ask ourselves... some times... are WE the long winded ones???
    • 39 posts
    June 17, 2011 9:42 PM PDT

    By now I know which clients are long winded, so I plan accordingly.  When your clients are really comfortable with you they will tell you about their vacation, new pet, etc.  Sometimes you wind up hearing the same story or joke thrice―never a problem.  If they are on the floor, an incoming customer will provide you the cue to acknowledge that they are about to be busy― smile and say bye.  In an office setting they will wind up having to take a call, when that happens acknowledge that they are about to be engaged, give them a smile and a goodbye wave.