What is the best way to deal with resistance in a professional conversation? Many fall back on their automatic, emotionally-induced reflex: offer resistance in return. Fighting fire with fire. You probably already know that this is not the best way, but what is the best way then? We will be happy to explain it to you!
Resistance in a conversation will especially arise when you offer the customer something, or have done something for the customer that he or she does not agree with. It is then tempting to immediately start proving the other person wrong, but it is much better to show understanding and to be accommodating. Show that you understand where the other person's frustration is coming from and let them tell their story.
Ask questions and gather information
While the conversation is opening, think about the follow-up questions you could ask and save them until the right moment. So you first let the other person run wild, show understanding for the objections, but in the meantime already think about what you can ask to turn the conversation to your advantage. Asking the right questions creates a win-win situation; you get to know what you want to know and the other person feels taken seriously because you are asking relevant questions.
Turn the conversation around
By now, you have identified exactly what the customer's problem is and resistance will have subsided. Then you can start to take away the concerns or solve the problem. So this is the moment when you start informing and convincing the other person. You will notice that it works much better to start doing this when the other person has been able to tell his or her story and you have shown understanding for it.
Assessing the situation
Of course, how much you have to cooperate and when you can start informing and convincing the other person varies from situation to situation. It is important to assess the situation: how strong is the resistance? Has the resistance diminished during the conversation? Is the other party open to negotiation at all? The rule of thumb here is that if there is a lot of resistance, do not (yet) proceed to persuasion, and if there is little resistance, do not get bogged down in asking questions.
Taking back the lead
Ultimately, it is about taking back the lead in the conversation and keeping it, without the other person consciously realising it. So avoid manoeuvring yourself into a subordinate role and avoid making unnecessary excuses. It is better to show understanding than to apologise. In both cases you acknowledge the resistance or dissatisfaction of the other person, but in the first case you keep control.
For some, all of the above is a piece of cake, but for others, unfortunately, it is not so easy to put into practice. Have you noticed that you have trouble with difficult conversations and can't manage to conduct them efficiently yourself? Then we would like to help you by taking over lead generation. These are conversations where some resistance must be overcome.