Do you find the scene in the cartoon strip completely new? Good for you!
The situation is quite common, mainly because dealing with objections is complicated: they often hit us like a punch in the stomach. The temptation to shift the responsibility onto others is always lurking…
The circumstances in which we have to deal with objections are daily and mainly involve negotiations: with the client, in the family, with colleagues, with friends.
We all object to make things happen differently.
Here are three helpful questions:
- How to handle objections?
- How to make them helpful in reaching an agreement?
- How to turn objections into a win-win opportunity?
Before we reflect on how to deal with different positions, let’s look at the meaning of the word ‘objection’.
It comes from the Latin obicĕre, “to throw in front of”, and refers to an argument that opposes the other party’s opinion to prove its falsity or inconsistency.
an objection sets us and our counterpart against each other!
How can we manage, especially if we cannot afford to interrupt the conversation or generate conflict?
Here are 7 things TO DO and 7 things NOT TO DO to handle an objection without ending up… battered.
What NOT to do
- Openly oppose the objection. The temperature may rise, and dropping it may not be easy.
- Dismiss the objection as inconsistent. Your counterpart may think you are not giving him/her importance, and it is unlikely he/she will bring you a bouquet.
- Discredit colleagues. No, don’t do that. Never do that. Even when you feel you are right. You could be mistaken for someone who doesn’t take responsibility; much better to take the blame and then ‘discuss’ the matter internally, behind closed doors (shouting is not polite…).
- Feel annoyed, offer resistance. The discomfort with the position can be mistaken for annoyance for the person. And that could be serious trouble…
- Never provide the solution immediately, even if you have one. Yes, because your counterpart’s objection cannot have a simple solution (clever people always make clever objections, don’t you think?). Therefore, it is better to avoid doing the right thing right away and take some time before answering.
- Do not stop listening. That would be like leaving, like abandoning the game.
- Don’t use words/expressions that generate opposition. Starting a sentence with no, I don’t want to, I can’t, I disagree, yes but increases the resistance. And makes your counterpart stop listening.
What YOU SHOULD DO
- Maintain an appropriate level of attention. Listening consciously to understand the reasons behind will allow you to understand their position and look for your benefit, which is always there!
- Welcome to a different position. Acceptance is not sharing; instead, it means understanding the others’ point of view without hastily dismissing it as false or unacceptable.
- Value the different position. It may hide aspects you had not thought of before.
- Deepen your understanding of the speaker’s reasons. Ask questions, try to understand what makes him/her take such an annoying position: you may find that the viewpoints are not so distant after all.
- Look for the beneficial aspects. A different position may not be awful for you; look, with patience and determination, for things that can help you achieve your goal.
- Put yourself in your interlocutor’s shoes. It will help you to understand his reasons and reduce the distance.
- Provide a solution only after careful assessment of the situation. Why? For the same reasons that it is not convenient to do the right thing immediately.
While rereading the 7 behaviours to keep and the 7 to avoid, I realised a few things, which may be helpful to summarise:
- objections recur in many situations: sales, negotiations, meetings of all kinds. Not forgetting private life;
- managing objections requires a good amount of conscious listening;
- welcoming a different opinion and looking for anything convenient helps us find appropriate solutions;
- rejecting different ideas without any discussion is unlikely to avoid conflict.
And from a clash, you can hardly get out without a dent.
Don’t you think?