Start With “I Understand” When Handling Objections
March 25, 2021
In many interpersonal situations in our life, we encounter objections or pushbacks.
- You finish your sales pitch, and your prospect says your product is too expensive.
- You leave a dinner plate on the table, and your spouse says you are always leaving stuff around for her to pick up after you.
What do we say at that moment?
Most times, our instinctive reaction is defensive. We get into an intellectual battle of wits to establish that we are right and the other person is wrong. We try to justify through facts and evidence.
There is nothing worse than trying to respond to an objection or a pushback with an answer.
- If the prospect says your product is too expensive and you try to justify why your product is not costly, you have lost a valuable chance to understand the clients’ thinking and reasoning.
- Your wife says you are always leaving dirty plates for her to clear, and you say, “No, I don’t do it always” It is almost certain that the conversation that will happen from that point on will not be pleasant.
When someone presents an objection, there is always a deeper reason. Unearthing the hidden reason or issue is key to being more persuasive.
During the early years of my career, I came across a very nice technique to handle objections effectively.
“I Understand” + Open-ended Question
Instead of replying with an answer, when you encounter an objection, try to figure out the thought behind the objection. You can do this with this simple framing of a response from the standpoint of empathy- “I Understand that keeping the cost low is important for you; what other factors are you considering when making the decision?”
Handling objections or responding to questions has this formula.
I understand (the intention behind the question or objection) + ( Open-ended question back for the person to clarify)
- I understand you are upset about the dirty plates being there on the table. Let me first remove them. Is there something else bothering you?
- I understand you are busy right now, and this may not be a priority for you immediately. Is there something I can do?
Empathy is a significant factor in handling objections effectively. When dealing with objections, starting your response with “I understand” forces you to approach the conversation with empathy even if you may not be feeling it.