Dealing With Objections In the Art Of Persuasion

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Dealing With Objections In the Art Of Persuasion

January 16, 2009 Persuasion 4

People may not always know why they object to something, but if you show an interest, you are likely to find out.  Maybe they are worried about a possible conflict or complication.  Maybe they want to be certain that you really know what you’re talking about.  Maybe it is an expression of self-doubt.   In any case, and in every case, a systematic approach to dealing with objections is likely to give you the best possible result, whether it’s a merge with someone else’s proposition, or their adoption of yours. 

What can you do with objections when practicing the art of persuasion?  They say (you know them, the people who do the research and steal the hubcaps!) that a good place to begin is with the basics. Here are the basic rules when dealing with objections. 

Basic Rule#1:  Don’t lie or exaggerate

Lying and exaggeration on critical points or ideas are likely to undermine your credibility and damage your persuasion proposition.  It’s just not worth the risk.  All it takes is to be exposed in a single falsehood, and no matter how true the rest of what you say, your entire proposition falls apart.   While exaggeration is great in the funny business, answering objections isn’t supposed to be funny.  (Well, a little humor is a good thing, but seriously, serious questions deserve serious answers!) If the facts don’t support you, admit it, and then give other facts.  If there are disadvantages to your proposal, admit to them honestly and then emphasize the advantages.  Since there’s no such thing as a perfect decision, you want to help people make their best decision.  You put your best foot forward by being straightforward.

Basic Rule#2:  Inoculation – Bring up the objection first!

If you can predict an objection, you can plan for it.  Over the years, I have learned in my public speeches and seminars about the kinds of things I say that might be objectionable.  I’d rather prevent predictable objections from being raised whenever possible, so as to make room for new objections.  I do this by building in the objection and responding to it before anyone else has the chance to object.  This has had the added benefit of helping me improve my presentations.   

The gist of your  system for dealing with objections goes like this.  First, thank the person who offered the objection.  Second, find out what it is.  Third, find out what’s behind it.  Fourth, provide information that speaks to the deeper interest.   

So, if there are no objections, that’s the end of today’s post.  I’d love to hear your comments!

be well,


4 Responses

  1. J.D. Meier says:

    Great focused lessons.

    Rule #2 works wonders. In the legal field, it’s “stealing thunder.” You can also create a “rude Q&A.”

    Two of the rules that have served me well are:
    1. Know somebody’s convincer strategy. Some people will not buy into something right off the bat, not matter how awesome you are. One of the guys I worked with needed to see something three times before buying in, spread over a two week period. It was his pattern. Once I knew this, I stopped wasting time and got results.
    2. Use the system to educate. Sometimes you’ve got the right message, but you’re not the right messenger. If I find I’m stuck, I find a different set of folks to give the message or use more social proof.

  2. Gary C Smith says:

    I occasionally find myself in the position of being an emcee, or marketing ‘talking head’ who knows key points, understands structure but does not have a wealth of experience with that days topic. In handling objections I back track, ask for the objection to be written down and refer to the higher authority. Then I make sure the higher authority answers the objection by calling on the objector and I cement my credibility by calling and asking “Did the higher authority answer your question?”

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