Join John Ullmen for an in-depth discussion in this video Turn objections into actions, part of Influencing Others.
Winston Churchill said, Kites rise highest against the wind. His point was that overcoming resistance is often essential when you go for great outcomes. The best influencers don't take it personally when others object and resist. They get motivated. They realize it's normal for others to have different frames and different agendas. They don't avoid objections, but go toward them with an energized, exploratory motive to understand them better. They know that objections aren't just obstacles, but clues.
If your counterpart has objections, the sooner you uncover them the sooner you will learn what actually can influence the person successfully and then you can apply another method from the influence advantage checklist. Wishing and pushing don't work, both backfire sooner or later. You want others to want to do what you want them to do. So, don't resist resistance, don't object to objections. Instead, turn objections into actions. Here's an example from my research. Giselle Chapman wanted to work as a pharmaceutical sales representative, but she got turned down at every interview.
She asked why she wasn't getting the job. Now notice, her motive was to explore the objections, not avoid them. She learned they wanted people with at least two years of experience in the industry. Now that seemed unfair. If they won't let her in, how can she have a chance to get two years of experience? But, she didn't paralyze herself with frustration, or enter a blame cycle about not getting a chance. She didn't take it personally. Instead, she listened closely to the objections and then, and this is key, she kept exploring them until she found an action path.
She asked a follow up question. Why is two years of experience so important? The managers answered, because experienced pharmaceutical reps have a much better chance of getting in to see the key customers, physicians. They said, it takes time to understand the environment and medical offices, navigate conversations, and ultimately get in to see the doctors. Giselle said, thank you. Couple days later, she went to a medical building, took the elevator to the top floor. She started there and worked her way down, going into each office on each floor and asking, may I please speak to the person who normally sees pharmaceutical sales reps? Many said no.
But others said yes. And in several of those cases the person was a doctor. She said, I'm doing the interviews to learn how to improve the service you get. Fast forward to the end of her next job interview. Once again, the hiring manager said she lacked experience. Giselle asked, if you knew I could get in to see doctors, are you confident enough in your training program to teach me whatever else I need to know. The hiring manager said, absolutely. They had one of the best training programs in the industry. Giselle said, last week I saw ten of your customers. Would you like to hear what I learned? He said, what? She said, I met with physicians from ten different medical groups last week.
I gathered data on what they are not getting from their pharmaceutical companies. Would you like to hear more? The hiring manager said, you got in to see doctors with no company and no business card? Yes, I did. If you did that, don't move. I'll hire you before you go to a competitor. Giselle Chapman was hired by Bristol-Myers Squibb, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies at the time. She became their number one sales representative. I'll say that again, with no experience and pure personal influence, she became the number one sales representative at a giant industry leading firm and then went on to form her own consulting company.
She didn't take objections personally, she pursued them, turned them into action, got the job she wanted and rewrote history in the firm. And it's true. Most of us don't get enthused about hearing no. But here's what Giselle says. She likes to turn no, as in rejection, into know, as in knowledge. Then she turns knowledge into power. So, treat objections as invitations. Invitations to learn what really matters most to the people you want to influence. Follow Giselle's example, and turn objections against you into actions for them, and thus for you too.
Remember, nothing always works in influence, but it will improve your chances. And with a different way to respond to rejection it can improve your relationships and reputation along the way. Setting the stage for future influence. It's hard to object to someone who doesn't object to your objections. That approach opened all sort of doors for Giselle, to doctor's offices, to her dream job, to top performance and beyond. Follow her example to open more of those doors that first seem closed. Turn objections into actions.
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- Turning objections into actions
- Adding more impact to your ideas
- Establishing urgency
- Using the influence advantage checklist
- Influencing to inspire
- And many more...