6 years ago
July 20, 2018

4 Innovative Ways to Break Bad News to Your Sales Customer

Sometimes you need to break some bad news to your sales customers. Maybe you can’t fulfill a promise, a shipment will be late, or other issues arise. Carefully navigating this…

Claire McConnachie Recruiter
Claire McConnachie

Sometimes you need to break some bad news to your sales customers. Maybe you can’t fulfill a promise, a shipment will be late, or other issues arise.

Carefully navigating this situation is important to keep your relationship intact. Sometimes bad things happen. Most customers understand this. Often, it is how you break the bad news to the customer that is most important.

You need to break the news in a way that shows you care and you are doing something to rectify the issue.

Here are a number of innovative ways to communicate bad news to your sales customers:

1. Have a Plan B to Offer

Things don’t always go according to plan. If you need to break some bad news to your customers, always have an alternative plan to offer. Explain to them the situation at hand and communicate a plan for how you are going to make it right. This will go a long way toward showing your customers that you care and have already put some work into making the situation right.

2. Communicate an Alternative Solution

Use the bad news as a means to develop a new or alternative solution to offer. Taking this approach changes the dialogue from communicating bad news to explaining why a new approach can help you overcome a potential problem with your original plans.

3. Be Sympathetic About Their Situation

Have sympathy for your customers when things go wrong, even if it’s not your fault. Express to them your displeasure about the situation and explain to them how you will help them overcome the situation. Using words like “us” and “we” shows them that you are on their side and willing to help them.

4. Be Honest and Upfront About It

Avoiding the issue or trying to lessen the blow is not a good approach. People appreciate when you are direct and honest, especially when you have bad news. Address the situation and then move on to how you are going to help them going forward.

No one wants to break bad news, but it happens. Knowing your customers and understanding their needs and position is important to help frame it correctly. Use what you know about your customers to communicate bad news in the best way possible.

More Sales Strategy Tips From Sales Recruiters

Get more effective sales strategies and advice by checking out these great blog posts by our sales recruiters:

The Power of Great Storytelling in Sales

Not Closing Your Sales? Know When to Panic! 2 Sales Recruiter Tips

Lies! 4 Common Lies Sales Customers Tell and How to Deal with Them


SalesForce Search is a sales recruiting company which specializes in the recruitment and placement of sales professionals. We recruit salespeople in every sector of the economy including, software, manufacturing, financial services and medical devices. Find the right salesperson for your organization, start your search here.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter

Claire McConnachie

Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.