To handle resistance to your ideas and influence, you will first need to pinpoint exactly why there is an objection. Typically, people object or resist because they:
- Don’t fully understand your proposal
- Misunderstand it
- Don’t feel a need to go ahead
- Don’t recognize the benefits and advantages
- Don’t believe your claims
- Are happy to remain as they are
- Genuinely need time to think things through
- Don’t trust you
- Display general inertia
What Type of Resistance?
Objections and resistance usually come in three identifiable forms:
A condition is a genuine, non-negotiable reason why someone can’t go ahead or agree to your proposal (e.g. company policy, legal reasons, and a contractual obligation).
An excuse or a put-off is usually made because people are not convinced of the benefits of your ideas. Excuses cannot be answered – conviction is the only solution.
A real objection can include lack of money or resources, time constraints, happiness with the status quo.
Strategies & Tactics
Resistance can be very frustrating. You are anxious to get on with things and it is hard to see why others are stonewalling. This is the moment to back off and take stock.
- Listen carefully to what they are saying to you
- Watch their body language – does it contain any hidden messages?
- Step into their shoes – try to see things from their point of view
- Consider what would have to happen for you to be convinced?
- Plan your responses carefully
- Take time to construct carefully thought through responses
- Check that you have provided acceptable responses to doubts and fears
- Seek areas of agreement and stress them, minimize areas of disagreement
Categories of Resistance
It is not enough to know whether people are for or against you and your ideas and proposals. The people you want to influence can be divided into nine categories and in Part Two of this article, ‘Categories of Buyer Resistance’, I identify them.