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This article is co-authored by Gintarė Rimdžiūtė of 1ClickFactory.
When it comes to deciding whether to migrate to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management to the cloud or stay on the current Dynamics AX version, there can be a lot of hesitation and resistance to change, and this can prevent stakeholders from enjoying the easier and more empowering world of Dynamics 365.
This article will explore a proven technique for handling objections and dispelling doubts that stakeholders raise before considering a move to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management. Knowing how to handle objections can help in shaping the priorities of the project and may lead to better outcomes while overcoming the important issues, so let’s delve deeper into the overall objections handling.
Figure 1: The most resistant groups (Source: Prosci, Inc., 2018)
Introduction to Objection Handling
Objections happen all the time. They are inevitable, because beginning any new project means making changes to the organization, the processes, and the day-to-day work of each individual. The major obstacle project managers run into often turns out to be objections raised by resistant project stakeholders. It’s important to recognize these objections and to manage them properly. Why? Ignoring stakeholders or disregarding their objections could result in tremendous costs, from project delays and being over budget, from loss of valuable employees to extra costs (like a redesign, rework, retrain, rescope), and from productivity decline or even a complete failure.
What is an objection about? An objection is a form of resistance that usually arises from a stakeholder’s fears, disagreement with the decision, or lack of understanding of the benefits of the project. However, objections do not always mean strong resistance or a strict ‘no’. Objections can also represent opportunities to clarify any misconceptions and dispel all the myths about the product or project. It’s an opportunity to present the benefits and value of the project to the project stakeholders, and to get their buy-in in the implementation of the project.
Objection handling technique. It’s always better to welcome objections rather than avoid them. It is quite typical for a project owner with weak objection handling skills to argue with the stakeholders, telling them that their objections are wrong. However, this behavior does not lead to closure. Conversely, it may lead to bigger disagreements or even a conflict. Objection handling is an important skill that any project owner should develop. It will be beneficial in their overall resistance management skillset. Here we share a popular and simple three-step technique recommended to handle objections:
The starting point in handling any objection is to understand the reason(s) why an individual disagrees or resists. It means accepting the person’s right to object. It also means accepting that you, as a project owner, have not fully understood their priorities, haven’t communicated the value/benefits clearly, and/or haven’t answered the right questions to alleviate the fear of project implementation, etc. To understand the reason for an objection you need to ask a lot of questions. Use open-ended questions that lead a resistant person to reveal the underlying root cause of the objection, their fears, and their disagreement or misunderstanding with you. For example:
- What makes you think that the implementation of this project will be a failure?
- Can you help me to understand why you think that the cloud version will be more expensive than on-premises?
- What concerns do you have about the implementation of the project with this company?
It’s important to first ask the question, and to then ask the question about the question. The goal is to dig to find out what the real issue is. Probe for more details by asking “What else?”, “Why is that?”, “Is there anything else?”, etc.
After understanding the reason(s) for an objection and the root cause, it is time to answer the project stakeholder’s questions. Depending on the root cause, the answers could be related to: