Have you ever had a prospect and/or customer from hell? I am talking about a customer that seemed charming when everything in the transaction was going well and did a 180 degree turn when they didn’t get when they want. I have had several experiences like this during my time in outside sales. What about those prospects that smile to your face and then actively try to undermine you behind your back? I have dealt with these kind of prospects and customers as well. Behavior like this is clearly the work of a sociopath. For our purposes here, a sociopath has two definitions: 1 A person who has no conscience and is incapable of feeling emotions of any kind. 2 A person who gets pleasure from making other people miserable.

In a previous article, I discussed how to deal with difficult customers. The customers/prospects I described above, are extremely difficult to deal with. People who are sociopaths are in places of power and authority. In sales, I have had to deal with sociopaths from time to time. From the customer who demands what they are not entitled to and abusive customers who got pleasure from seeing me sweat.

Now you are asking how to deal with these people? Well the first thing that I would suggest is to avoid them like the plague if possible. What do you do if you need their business? Too often people like this hold the purse strings to that big commission, a promotion and make the difference between a big income and a very small one. Think of Don Drapers new boss Lou the Creative Director from Mad Men. He is a true sociopath.

How do you deal with such people? To deal with such people, you need to make a judgment call it see if it is worth it for you. If you decide that it is, you need to turn off your emotions and protect your health, put your head down and do what they want. You can justify this as a temporary situation or as a means to an end. Visualize yourself getting what you want as a result of servicing this sociopath. If you could do this, you could effectively deal with these sociopaths. Give them what they want so you could get what you want. This is not easy to do.

How have you dealt with Sociopaths in your business career?