How to Master Manage Difficult Conversation in 4 Steps

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

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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 actually 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.


  1. 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
  2. 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.
    1. “What I hear is that you are concerned about the cost versus the return in this engagement. Did I get that right?”
    2. “It sounds as if you feel the implementation schedule is overly confident, is that right?”
  3. 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 will 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.

4.  Commit to the success of the engagement. When things get tough, we want to withdraw or defend. When we can say things 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 to not be defensive. Our brains are wired to perceive threat. When you remember these steps, your audience of one or many will feel heard. And when people that feel that you have really 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 you success, let’s chat. Calendar

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