Finesse Tough Questions Like a Pro

An important ingredient in the recipe for success in life and business is the ability to effectively resolve objections.  Nothing takes the wind out of your sails faster than getting blindsided by a thorny question about your intentions,  abilities,  products or services.

The silver-tongued devils among us,  being natural planners (OK, schemers),  always anticipate and prepare for the likely push-back that their caper of the moment might receive.  But because they take a few minutes to consider how the other side might react to their idea,  perfectly pitched and expertly crafted answers land like rose petals,  as they have their way again and again.

You’ve gotta  admire those folks.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,  so let’s bestow a silver-tongued compliment and borrow a  few of their tricks,  so we can have our way with a few clients.

Identify the questions and objections that are most likely to be raised.

Organize what you’ve identified into basic  categories.  Your objective is to simplify the process by reducing the amount of preparation you must do and give clarity and focus to your responses.  You will feel more relaxed and in control because it will be easier to remember what to say.

Formulate and rehearse simple,  succinct and rational answers for each category.  Your answers should make sense separately or collectively and nothing can contradict.  In some cases,  your response may not precisely answer the question/objection,  but it must appear to do so (listen to politicians).  Think of one-size-fits-all answers for each category you’ve identified.  Ideally,  you will create a cohesive and convincing narrative that can add additional support to whatever it is you’re trying to advance or sell.

Listen carefully to questions and find the  “trigger”  word that reveals the heart of what  you must convincingly address.  Repeat the question,  to ensure that you’ve understood it and to give yourself time to reach into the right  “bucket”  and pull out a well-designed and rehearsed answer.

Project confidence as you look the questioner in the eye and respond with authority (but never defensiveness).  Jury consultants say that much of witness credibility involves body language.  Jurors apparently trust those who give good eye contact,  have good posture and do not fidget and squirm.

Respect the questioner by showing empathy for his/her viewpoint.  When I worked in sales,  I learned the  “feel,  felt,  found”  method and it goes like this: 

I understand how you might feel this way…

Occasionally,  others have also felt this way when initially evaluating…

Here’s what I’ve (or those who’ve successfully used this product) found…

As every silver-tongued devil knows,  questions or objections will eventually arise.  It’s not all bad,  actually.  The opposite of love is not hate,  but indifference.  If your client has an objection to some aspect of your concept or product,  it signals that he/she has paid attention to what you’ve said and is thinking about how your offering compares to what is being done now and if it could better meet the organizations’ needs.  The quality of your response will go a long way in either building or breaking the client’s trust in your brand.

Thanks for reading,

Kim

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