The Art of Change Skills for Life

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Dealing With Key Objections In the Art Of Persuasion

April 29, 2009 Persuasion 3

ughmooghIn today’s post, we’ll examine the meaning of a few key objections you are likely to meet when seeking to introduce an idea, product or service to someone in the hopes of bringing about a positive change. 

Feeling objections are about fear and procrastination

The purpose of some objections is to delay progress.   This is the best trick of procrastinators, who fear making the wrong choice and either getting blamed for it or feeling responsible for it.  When ever you receive an objection that seems to serve only to delay making a decision, that’s a signal not for more information, but for some handholding, patience and questions.

Zig Ziglar, the famous motivational speaker and sales trainer, taught that the best response to feeling statements was his Feel, Felt, Found formula.   “I understand how you can feel that way.  I’ve known others who felt that way.  What they found was…’ and then offer encouragement that your proposition meets their needs and interests. You can use natural language for this.  I used to have a problem with this, because it is so obvious.  But then I discovered that in fact, the pattern works because this is a natural response when identifying with someone’s objection and knowing how you found resolution for yourself.   It becomes a personal testimonial.  “I understand. I had the same issue.  But then I realized…”  Relax and be natural about it for the best result. 

Deferring to a higher authority indicates doubt 

Ever had somebody tell you they’d need to get back to you, because someone else was involved in making a decision?  The form of the objection goes like this: “I have to talk to my husband/ wife/ employees/ boss/ partner first.”  Whenever you hear this form, it is an indicator of doubt, and a signal that what is needed form you is some reassurance.  Now, there are occasions where other people do have to be involved.  But if a person had sufficient confidence, there is at least some reason for you to have confidence in their ability to make a decision.  So when you hear this, the useful assumption is that they lack the confidence to proceed.

The best response, in that case, is “That’s a good idea.  I always talk things over before making important decisions too.” This puts you and the person you are talking with on the common footing of ‘talking things over,’ which is likely to help him or her to feel safe and understood. 

Next, there are two things you can inquire about to great effect.  First, the details.  You could simply ask, and “What part of what I’ve proposed will you discuss with so and so?”   This helps you zero in on the aspect of the idea in which they have the least confidence.   By being specific about it, you may be able to provide a more persuasive representation of it.  Exploring this in dialog may reveal specific doubts to you.  You can then speak to those doubts, and, when appropriate, ask for a decision. 

Or, you can ask if the person they want to talk with is the decision maker.  If the answer is yes, then you can ask to speak to that person yourself.  As a side effect, this just may prompt the person to make the decision herself, rather than leave you with the impression that she is lacking in authority. 

Back with more in a few days.  Friday, it’s all about hope and fear.  Meanwhile, I’m hoping for comments!

be well,

Rick

 

3 Responses

  1. Zane Safrit says:

    Great points. Thanks for the reminder of the feel/felt/found from Zig. It is so obvious, because it’s so obviously true.

    And that reminder of patience is the need when obstacles are the offering…so true, so true.

    Thanks for the comment over at my blog. Kare’s show received a lot of favorable comments. Favorable = wildly enthusiastic.

    • Thanks for the comment, Zane.

      You’ve got some great resources there and a fun way with words. And Kare is awesome, I like how you give her credit for her coherent thinking about moving from ‘me to we’ in organizational dev. Come back and comment often!

      Best wishes,
      Rick

  2. […] Dr. Rick Kirschner on July 8, 2009 Dealing With Key Objections In the Art Of Persuasion – drkblog.com 04/29/2009 The purpose of some objections is to delay progress. This is the […]

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