3 reasons why somebody says no to a deal Understanding their motivation is key to removing the obstacle
Traditionalists are risk-averse because their livelihood depends on it.
Deal blockers stop deals because from where they sit, it is in their best interest to do so. The job of the dealmaker is to turn that around – which begins by understanding the naysayers’ motivations.
So what shapes a deal blocker’s motivations? These are three basic drivers:
For some blockers, saying “no” is a simple matter of personal pride. They know far more about a specific area (finance, technology, law) than you do, and they want everyone to see that.
Why? Because these blockers are less powerful than they are respected — and they want to maintain that high level of respect.
Winning over experts is a two-step process. First, you have to speak to them in language they understand (legal, technological).
Next, surround yourself with powerful internal and external supporters. Creating an environment where experts can safely jump on board, and insulating them from the side effects of failure, allows them to maintain their prestige and support the deal.
Other blockers say no to the deal because it’s actually to their advantage to knock it down.
One such blocker — the competitor — is the champion of a competing idea or solution. A similar breed of blocker, the doubter, doesn’t ever really say no to the deal — but he won’t support it either.
Since he has nothing specific to gain by saying yes (he isn’t the champion), he plays devil’s advocate. Why? Because if the deal goes bad, it’s safer on the sidelines.
The key to converting doubters, then, is to offer them enough upside to coax them out of the shadows. This can be in the form of a promise to include them on the team, have them speak at an event, introduce them to an industry luminary, or whatever that person might value.
The traditionalist is someone who’s always done something a particular way. By saying yes to something new, the traditionalist is putting his old-line position in jeopardy.
Traditionalists are risk-averse because their livelihood depends on it. The best way to get this type of blocker on your side, then, is to make change seem inevitable.
As much as traditionalists fear change, they are more afraid of missing out or being left behind.
In association with Harvard Business Review
Previously published in The Irish Times.
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