Overcoming objections isn’t just for salespeople. If you want to influence others, you must be able to overcome objections. There are four objections leaders hear regularly. Once you have a basic strategy, you will become more agile and successful influencing others past those objections.
The Objections Leaders Hear
While these objections may not be stated exactly, you will recognize each. Once you have these strategies, you will be able to influence through these objections far more effectively.
- Skepticism – “I don’t believe it.” If you have ever suggested or been asked to implement a change, you have experienced this. As a leader, people might be skeptical of what you say because of your role, not that they think you are personally dishonest or trying to mislead them. This is important to remember so you don’t take their skepticism personally. First, determine the source of their skepticism with questions. Then, frame the conversation about examples of relevant successes to help people see the possibilities in the situation.
- Disagreement – “I don’t like it.” There are lots of things people may not like. Consider it a gift when they tell you it directly enough that you can do something about it. Good things happen when you uncover their biggest concerns. You learn what they don’t like, so you can address it. You determine that they are basing their judgment on bad assumptions, which you can then correct. Or they might have a perspective/information that you didn’t have, which may help you improve the situation for everyone. When you create a dialogue about their concerns, you will both learn something. Objection can be resolved or will melt away as a result.
- Confusion – “I don’t know about it.” When people are confused, consider it a plea for understanding. In short, you reduce this objection through education to clear up the confusion and misconceptions. The needed information to clear up their confusion can come from you, written resources, or others on the team.
- Apathy – “I don’t care about it.” This may be the most challenging of all, but once you understand the strategies for overcoming the other objections that leaders hear, you are in a better position to deal with this one. This objection begs for conversation. Ask questions from a place curiosity, not disdain, condescension, or judgment. Often, the apathy is mixed with one of the other sources of objection, and an open conversation will change the perspective of the other person.
While I have provided some ideas and strategies here it is important to note that I haven’t provided some magic bullet or perfect words. The best way to overcome these objections, or any others, is to create a meaningful and open dialogue with the other person based on respect and listening. Once people see that you want to understand their perspective rather than “win” an argument, you set the stage for a far more successful outcome.
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