An objection, honestly stated, is just another way of inviting you to satisfy a concern or need that you did not address earlier in your presentation or proposal.
When they say "No," don't:
- Respond with a concession
- Retreat in distress
Hearing "No" is your opportunity to create value.
When they say "No," do engage them:
- You want to determine:
- Is the objection real?
- What interest do they have that was not served by your proposal?
- Are both parties using the same standards of reasonableness?
- What will they do if you don't get an agreement?
- What are their BATNAs?
- Can you beat their BATNAs?
A "No" prompts both self-reflection and engagement.
Ask yourself if you need more preparation:
- Do you need more information about them?
- Do you need more information about your solution, position, product, organization, market, etc.?
- Do you need more information about stakeholders?
- Are you talking to the right person/people?
- Maybe this is not a good solution or agreement?
- Should you execute your BATNA?
Consider a "No" to be an invitation to Probe. Explore available options with the other side. Ask questions like:
- "If we can find a solution on this one item, can we get a final agreement today?"
- "What if we…" (the hypothetical "yes, if")
- "In a perfect world, what would this look like to you?"
- Maybe you need only to acknowledge the objection ("I understand this is going to be difficult for all of us…")
- "What ideas do you have for a solution to this challenge?"