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How to Master Manage Difficult Conversation in 4 Steps with John Gies

by | In the Magazine, John Gies

You are in the midst of your pitch. There is a lot on the line, and the buyer, the investors, or the other party asks the uncomfortable question. Is it an objection? Where they say words to the effect, “we don’t believe you can do that.”

How do you respond?

If you are like most people, your face will flush, and your heart rate will go up, and that is just chemistry. What you do from here matters. You will be tempted to defend your position or, even worse, ignore the objection. There is a better way.

The fact that they have asked this question is a good sign. It means you are still in the game. If they had already decided you were out, they would let you prattle on and then send you the Dear John letter that says,” Thanks, but no thanks.”

When you listen, acknowledge, and respond to the objection well, it can move you to the front of the pack competitively. Here are four things to do when that difficult question is asked. Make sure that you are addressing the real concern by validating that your understanding is correct.

  • Take a breath and center yourself. Taking a couple of deep breaths will calm your chemistry. Be aware of your non-verbal signals. Don’t slouch or dart your eyes and don’t react. Pause. You can even say, “That’s a big question; give me a moment so I can best reply.” Now clarify what you heard. We often hear through our filters… make sure you heard what you thought you did.
  • Confirm your understanding by acknowledging what they have brought up. If it is an emotion, name it. If it is a fact, confirm that this is their concern.

“What I hear is that you are concerned about the cost versus the return in this engagement. Did I get that right?”

“It sounds as if you feel the implementation schedule is overly confident, is that right?”

  • Respond with the ways that you can address their concerns or not. Check your emotions here; don’t be defensive. If you can’t manage their expectations, show them how you can mitigate their concern. For example, I once had a buyer that wanted a thirty-day implementation to go live on a project. All of our competitors said, “no problem.” We said it would require sixty days. And here is why; “We don’t have staff sitting around waiting for your engagement. Frankly, neither do our competitors; the economics don’t work. We will hire and train. Then we will add some experienced staff with the newly hired staff to deliver the best outcome.”

The client later told us this was the determining factor. We told the truth, and then we showed why they would still get a better outcome with our approach.

Commit to the success of the engagement. When things get tough, we want to withdraw or defend. When we can say something like, “I want to make sure you get the results you want.” Or, “How do you think this solution addresses your concerns?” The client realizes you are not just about the deal but are committed to the relationship.

When the hard objections come up, and it seems to come out of nowhere, it can be challenging not to be defensive. Our brains are wired to perceive a threat.

When you remember these steps, your audience of one or many will feel heard. And when people that feel that you have listened to them, they are more open to collaborating and working together.


Be Inspired, and if you would like to talk about communication and its impact on your success, let’s chat. Calendar

 About the Contributor

After over to two decades in corporate sales John realized that he has a passion for small business. He was meeting with the CFO of a large organization in Denver and when the CFO saw the $400,000 difference John could create for him, he replied, “That’s a rounding error, I don’t want to change”. John knew then he needed a new career. Since then he has taught and coached teams across North America and Europe. He has helped countless small business owners create more revenue, growth, and profit…without spending any more money on advertising or marketing.

He currently serves his clients as a speaker and business growth strategist. His Book is the 45-Minute Business Breakthrough: How to find new revenue for your business in 45 minutes. Schedule a Strategy Call with John at John is a Business growth Strategist helping small business owners build the business they dreamed of versus the job they have created.

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