Tips for Overcoming Objections in the Workplace
Many workplace leaders might remember those defining moments on their youth sports teams. They recall those opportunities where they could have taken a shot for the winning goal, or fallen back from the fear that they could not achieve their hopes.
The legendary NBA Basketball star, Michael Jordan famously said “I‘ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”
One misses all of the opportunities they never pursue. One learns how to improve from taking chances.
According to Spanx founder Sara Blakely, who suffered many set-backs in her professional career, the only failure is not trying to pursue one’s ideas.
It just takes one “yes” to convince one’s boss to try a new workflow idea, to win-over a stakeholder, or open the door to any opportunity. Innovators and change-makers are accustomed to hearing the word “no” – sometimes twenty times within a single day. Regardless, one must persevere with the confidence, courage and the expectation that one day those no’s will be very eager yes’s.
Below are a few ideas for overcoming “no” in the workplace.
- “Our budget is set.”
This decline is one of the hardest to overcome. If the team or department does not have funds for the new venture or idea there is no way this objection can be overturned. However, the employee innovator can ask questions for a future in which there are more funds. Great questions to consider are:
“When might our budget open up?”
“When do we plan our budget for the next fiscal year?”
If the manager responds with a date, ask if it would be appropriate to pitch the idea to another member of the decision-making team at that later time.
- “I need to talk about it with a few other people first.”
To some this is not perceived as a decline, but it may definitely be discouraging. If you are hearing this statement, be patient and actually take the time to follow-up. Gather information on who these “other” decision makers may be in the department and use the time to uncover how this proposed solution may directly benefit them, their processes and the bottom-line. When preparing for the follow-up conversation, it is an excellent idea to have facts, figures or whatever information would be necessary for proving why this idea is a great addition to the company. “I will get back to you – I need to think about it.”
This is a great opportunity to do further research – vetting the idea with feedback from others and improving it a bit further. Consider being proactive and setting a date to discuss this idea, with additional facts and figures to add to its efficacy, at a later point in time with the team lead or manager.
- “We have too much going on right now – I’m too busy.”
If the decision-maker or department is too busy, they might feel a bit overwhelmed or rushed. Be respectful of their schedule and take note of a better time to approach them. In the meantime, make a case as to how this new idea might help improve the workflow to help prevent such tension. This might present a wonderful opportunity to prove the benefits of the proposed solution.
Objections occur in the careers of all great leaders. One should be in encouraged in the fact that they are being proactive in trying to make a difference in their organization and the world at large.