Negotiations: How to Handle Objections

“Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.” Samuel Jackson

There will always be objections—to your price, to your delivery, to your product or service, or maybe even to you. How you handle these objections will determine the success of your business negotiation.

The first step in handling objections is to try to understand the viewpoint. You don’t have to agree with the objection, but you must understand how the other party is thinking. Convey your understanding to the other party by re-phrasing the objection as a question. You can say something like “You think our delivery time is too slow?”

Handling objections also involves pre-negotiation preparation. For instance, if you are a seller, make a list of your product or service’s attributes, benefits and disadvantages. Do the same for your competitor’s product or service. Then, write down every conceivable objection to your product or service. Brainstorm with a group if possible. Come up with a list to counter these objections.

You will notice some objections are hard to handle and others are easy to handle. Easy-to-handle objections can always be refuted with available evidence (competitive pricing for example).

Other objections are harder to deal with. Dr. Chester L. Karrass suggests dealing with these by turning the objection into a yes-or-no question, and trying to elicit a “yes” answer. For instance, you can say something like “I see you are concerned with the price of this product. If you check our competition, you will notice that they don’t use the same material in producing the product, and you want this material if you want the product to have a 25-year life span, right?”

Dr. Karrass counsels that you should NEVER agree with the other party’s objection. In the example above, you would never agree point-black that the price is too high, instead you would only note that the other party thinks the price is too high.

What do you do to handle objections? What process do you follow?

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