By Lindsay Marcaccio

What do you do when your client or manager objects to your idea after you’ve delivered your pitch? It’s not easy to hear no but it’s bound to happen. Fortunately, there are ways to help you learn from the situation if not turn the no into a yes. Jenny Spurr, founder of Perch Communications shares the following tips to overcoming objections. 

“If you’re answered with ‘It doesn’t look or feel right,’ probe to get the person to be more specific about their objection,” advises Jenny Spurr, founder of Perch Communications.

Remove ego and emotion from your response

It is normal to react defensively when you are first told that your idea is not the right one. Especially when you have invested time and energy, and think the idea is good. “Remove ego and emotion, and look at things critically and objectively,” says Spurr. Take a moment and a breath to gather your thoughts, and tune into what your client or manager is saying.

Know your own biases 

Consider your own preconceived notions about what makes something good or bad. Listening to an objection without judgement means you have to be able to question why you are holding so tightly to that idea. Do you favour a certain colour palette, demographic or theme? “If your idea satisfies your own personal preferences over the goals of the project, you might need to reconsider,” adds Spurr. The same goes for your client or manager.

Understand the why of the objection

Often, there is an underlying cause of the objection and it’s fair to ask if you can explore a negative response to seek clarity. “This means asking lots of open-ended questions,” advises Spurr. You want to avoid yes/no answers so you can tease out more of an explanation other than “I don’t like it.” Or, “it doesn’t feel right.” Restate the objection as you understand it and ask for confirmation. This can help the client or manager to better articulate the true cause of their objection. 

Always complete a project brief

A detailed project brief provides a resource for you to return to when objections are made. Once you understand the why of the objections your brief can help provide evidence that supports your decision and addresses the objection. “A strong brief is key to ensuring everyone on the project team is working towards the same goals,” says Spurr. 

Ideally you will be able to calmly walk through the objection to determine the underlying cause, use the detailed project brief to circle back to the purpose of the project and find a solution. It takes practice but it is possible to take a no and turn it into a yes. 

Jenny Spurr is a communications strategist and public relations professional based in Canmore, Alberta. She loves working with the community, and has over a decade of experience managing communications campaigns, coordinating media events and building community partnerships. Jenny founded Perch Communications in 2020 to help small businesses and non-profits rise above their competition through a combination of content creation, media outreach and public relations.  

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