Handling Objections: When They say "No"

What You'll Learn
  • An honest objection is a way of inviting you to satisfy a concern or need
  • Don't respond to "no" with a concession, argument, or by retreating in distress
  • Hearing "no" is your opportunity to ask questions and create value

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
  • Argue
  • 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?"