How do I overcome objections?
How do I handle "NO"?
How do I deal with difficult people?
At the beginning of our leadership development workshops, when we ask the participants what they would like to accomplish, these are by far the most popular responses. Many people seem programmed to think if they can overcome, handle or minimize negative points of view, then others will drop their resistance and the goals will be achieved. In other words the belief seems to be "If I prove my point, you will you drop yours."
Dean Rusk, the Secretary of State under President Kennedy exposed the futility of that logic when he said, "To me, the silliest argument in the world is, ‘If you knew what I know, you would agree with me.'"
So, how do you manage resistance? You can meet resistance with resistance but the winner only gets a loser who remembers it forever. Given that the objective of leadership is to obtain wholehearted followers for a given course of action, you need to create a whole new mindset when it comes to managing resistance.
Start by thinking of resistance as the client saying "I cannot catch up with your confidence. This (the point of resistance) is standing in the way. Can you help me?" Any resistance now is seen as the client asking for your help and that changes the entire approach.
The new approach then is immediately probe to understand the resistance from the client's point of view. Until you understand it from the client's point of view you cannot begin to explore solutions that would work for the client.
Once you see it from their point of view, you can present aligned solutions that will establish the appropriate priorities, offer help, reduce risk, prevent future problems and/or provide the appropriate proof.
If you remember our article on Effective Listening, you will realize that resistance comes from Apathetic Agnes, Whining Winnie, Risky Rita, Hostile Harriett and/or Skeptical Sally and that the generic aligned responses suggested here will manage each of these points of resistance.
Additionally, the more you are able to help you clients manage the problems preventing them from reaching confidence, the more you will be seen as a trusted adviser and less of just another vendor.
Internally, this approach will help your employees see you less as "the Boss" and more as a coach interested in making them more successful.
So remember first change your mindset and then change your approach and watch the resistance dissolve right before your eyes.