Thursday, September 11, 2008

How to Disagree and Still Win

No one likes to be corrected, even when they are absolutely wrong. Your prospect tells you he would never buy your product because it doesn't have the capacity to cross-file data to the 102nd mega-degree. You know that's not true, yet, if you come right out and tell him he's wrong, he'll resent you for it.

You could convince him logically of the fact that your product not only can cross-file data to the 102nd mega-degree (no, I have no clue what that means), but could also do it at the speed of light, while blindfolded.

The chances are, he will still say "no". He'll find a way to say "no" to protect his position anyway he has to because he feels his ego has been bruised.

Would you agree with that? At least nine times out of ten, right? We've all seen it happen.

Your boss gives you back a report you handed in and asks you to correct one area that you know was right. You researched it, checked and double checked it and you know it's right.

How do you suppose your boss will respond, however, if you simply tell her she's wrong, that your report is right? Is there a chance her ego may not appreciate that and she'll find a way to make it and you wrong, or look for something wrong on your next report? Unless this person is an extraordinary human being, you bet she will!

Why take a chance? Phrase your disagreement in a way the other person can live with and even appreciate. Take the onus off them and put it on your own 'lack of understanding'. This is truly winning without intimidation.

When having to disagree with someone's incorrect statement in order to get your point across and get what you want, it's often best to lead into the correction with statements such as, "Correct me if I'm wrong..." or, " I don't understand..." or, "Could you clarify something for me...?"

Pat tells you he can't deliver your new furniture by Friday. You "react" by saying, " You did it the same day for Dave Sprazinski on a special delivery order!"

Instead, why not "respond" with, "Joe, correct me if I'm wrong - you know these things much better than I do -weren't you able to get my friend Dave Sprazinski's furniture to him on some sort of, I don't know, special delivery order?"

Marjorie says, "I don't like how that looks in this particular order." Two days earlier, that's exactly the order she wanted it in and correcting it would cost you a whole lot of time and money. But if you come right out and tell her that, she probably won't budge an inch.

Why not lead into your statement with, "Marjorie, could you clarify something for me, because I want you to be totally pleased. I interpreted what you said to look this way. It really does work great, too, your judgement was right on the mark. Can we review this step-by-step?"

Keep in mind, when you have to correct someone who is wrong, you need to do this without offending them and their ego. Use diplomatic phrases that allow you to tactfully move into the information you need to express in order to get agreement from that person.

Get your point across without offending anyone and putting the person in a defensive mode. If not, even the best ideas will be wasted on deaf ears, because all the person is thinking at that point of time is, i'm not wrong, or it's not my fault or, you don't appreciate me. Test it out! Good luck!

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