How to Handle Objections


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  • Always remember that you want to partner to help the 46 million Americans with arthritis.
  • Make sure you fully understand the decision process. What are the criteria for the decision? When is the decision going to be made? How is it going to be made? Who is going to make it? Try and get your appointment with a decision-maker, not a pass-along gatekeeper.
  • Don't tolerate maybes. (I'll think it over. Call me next week.) Be alert that maybes mean the decision-maker is probably leaning towards not accepting your proposal.
  • A positive decision is more likely to be made when many yes answers have outweighed a few nos. When the nos come, address them head-on to turn them into a yes. Handling objections is part of the negotiation process. Get comfortable with them, and do not take them personally.




Step 1: Establish Readiness


  • Determine whether your potential partner is willing and able to consider a collaboration to deliver programs.
  • Ask the potential partner to agree in advance that a decision will be made at the end of your presentation.
  • Find out any compelling reasons why your prospect may or may not want to make a commitment to you so you can make a more relevant presentation. 
  • Make sure that the timing of your ask is appropriate. Learn upfront when new budgets come out. 
  • Do all of the above BEFORE you make your ask. This will prevent you from wasting your time making a presentation to someone who cannot or will not decide to say yes.


Step 2: Clarify the nature of the objection


  • Ask questions to clarify reported barriers and to determine if the objection raised is based on a misunderstanding or a real difference of opinion. For example:

    • Potential partner: “We never have requests for this kind of program.”
    • AF/ State:

      • “How do you account for this lack of requests?”
      • “Could it be that your employees aren’t aware of such programs or that they don’t want to attend a program on-site?”
      • “Could they be concerned about being identified as having arthritis?”


Step 3: Formulate suitable responses


  • Ask yourself, “What do I know to be true?”

  • Generate a list of potential objections and potential responses in advance. For example:

    • Potential partner: “We already offer the (X name) exercise program.”
    • AF/ State:
      • “What benefits does your organization and your constituents gain from the X program?”
      • “Did you know that the AF program is specifically designed to meet the needs of people with arthritis, many of whom have co-morbid conditions such as heart disease and diabetes? How beneficial do you think such a program would be to your constituents?”


Step 4: Elicit answers from the potential partner


  • Ask questions that get the potential partner to answer their own objections. For example:

    • AF/ State:
      • “What is your capacity to market more than one program?”
      • “How do you predict that the AF program would do if you marketed it to the same extent you do your other program?”
      • “How beneficial do you think it would be for your constituents to have access to a variety of programs offered at different days or times?
      • “Given the proven benefits of the AF program, would you be willing to give it a trial run to see how it could help your constituents?”
      •  “What other options do you see that would help address the issues that you've raised?”






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