Spend time with other people, and you are going to run into objections. Obstacles. People who don’t share your commitment to your goals and desires.

Persuasion and influence are the cornerstones of leadership, a leadership that exists at any level. If you want to move forward in your life, your relationships and your career, you’ve got to be able to persuade and influence others.

That persuasion starts with your story. And your story is the first and best path to getting past the obstacles that hold you back.

Typically, there are five reasons that something isn’t happening – five objections that you can run into. Here’s how to stop giving in, and get what you want.

Issue #1: No Money.

When you run into an issue of money, it’s really a search issue. Not a Google search, necessarily, but a search to find the money. At a fundraising meeting, it was identified that the organization needed $10,000 to keep the doors open. Someone said, “Where is that money going to come from?” A wise person answered, “Wherever it is now.”

Action #1: Find the Money

Money is like air, or time – it’s not unlimited, but it is all around us. When money is tight, that just means that the money you need is somewhere else. Where can you go, to find the money? What is it that you could do, to create the value that justifies the amount of money that you need?

After all, screaming that “There’s no money!” is like looking at an empty fireplace and screaming, “There’s no heat!” You have to put fuel in the fireplace, and strike a match, if you want to get warm – you have to do something first! You have to add value (like firewood) and get others enrolled in your ideas (that’s the spark), if you want to get something started.

I’m working right now with a client who’s frustrated with her current career path, and money – her salary level – is a big part of that frustration.

There are two elements to this frustration:

  1. The value/impact that she is creating and
  2. 2. Where she is creating that value.

Using the “Find the Money” strategy, she has to examine the value that she is creating: what is it that she is doing to make a difference? And how many people are impacted by that difference? Does the company value that contribution – and, if not, what might she offer that could be valued more highly?

Finally, you have to consider that the money problem might be right where you are. If you have ambitions of learning to speak Spanish, but you’re living in Tokyo instead of Barcelona…well, you get the idea. Change is never easy, but maybe it’s time to go to a place where you can be who you are, and who you are supposed to be.

Issue #2: No Time

The issue of “no time” has two components: either someone is too busy, or there’s just no sense of urgency. When there’s no time, you will hear a version of “We just can’t fit it in right now” or “We’ll consider this idea next month, next year, or sometime around the 12th of Never.”

Action #2: Torpedo the Status Quo

Using time as an objection is an argument for the status quo: in other words, somebody wants to keep things the way they are. The schedule is simply a defense, and that means that the status quo needs some examination.

Consider what happens if you do nothing. No action means no results. So, are the results really important? Have you shared your results in a way that’s compelling, and more attractive than the other appointments on the calendar? That’s the only way you’re going to get the meeting – or the date, for that matter – when time is of the essence.

Issue #3: No Need

When they like you, but they just don’t need you, that’s a difficult obstacle to overcome. If you are facing this issue, you may have forgotten to describe a need in the most powerful way. Let me explain…

Action #3: Shift Your Focus

When you think about what you want – for your career, your relationships, whatever – it’s easy to think about yourself. In fact, it’s only natural! That’s our survival instinct kicking in, right from the start. But if you stay there, you may not get the engagement you need. Thinking about your goals in terms of others is the key.

For one of my career coaching clients, she wanted to go in to her boss and ask for a raise – because she deserved it, because she had worked hard, because she wanted to be rewarded and because she had been overlooked on the last salary increase. While all those reasons are valid, none of them shows a solution for her employer. We shifted gears, and created a proposal that showed a new solution for the company – with a new salary level for her contribution.

Business works on a simple premise: give to get. You have to give something of value, if you want to get compensation in return. Guess who determines that value? Not you. It’s your client, your customer, your employer. Focus on creating value for the people that really matter, and your results will be your reward.

Issue #4: No Trust

Perhaps the hardest obstacle to overcome, because it is often the most personal. This issue comes up when you hear that “we would rather buy from the famous name company” or “I only date football players” or “I like your ideas, but I’m not sure that you can get this done.” Integrity, trust and confidence are key – because it’s not enough to have a great story about what you can offer. You’ve got to get others to believe it.

Action #4: Actions Speak Louder than Words

I had an experience where I was facing off against a much larger competitor, in a business situation. As a business development executive, I didn’t have the same market share, distribution network, technical support or many many other things that the “other guys” could offer. But what I did have was a knowledge of the client’s situation, and marketplace. There was one question I knew I could answer better than anybody else, and it’s perhaps the most important question of all:

 

Can you help us?

 

I focused on the needs of the person right in front of me. I didn’t have market-shattering statistics, but I did have stories about how I had created results for similar companies. My message wasn’t about the grand and glorious marketplace – it was a personal story, that related directly to the client’s situation and needs.

If you can communicate clearly that you see things in ways that others don’t, you begin to overcome the challenges of trust. Presenting a personal and specific solution is the first step towards a connection that really matters.

Issue #5: You Don’t Really Believe It!

The other obstacles are external ones; this issue is lurking inside of you, right now. You don’t really believe that he will ask you out, or that your boss will say ‘yes’, or that you can get the tickets to the big game. And, that thought is stopping you in your tracks.

Action #5: Sit Still and Wait

Everything has a front and a back. It’s possible that any given circumstance could result in disaster. Or success. Isn’t that right? Now, the probability of success and failure is not equal, but both potential outcomes must exist, wouldn’t you agree?

So many times we entertain only one outcome: this will never work! Or, we engage in the exact opposite: this HAS TO work – which is a setup for disappointment and leads to outcome number one.

Since you have dozens of thoughts racing through your mind at any given time, why not take a moment to recognize those thoughts, and think a little more deeply about the situation at hand? Are you envisioning disastrous failure? A catastrophic defeat? Or maybe, only a “C+” on the test?

What would happen if you noticed those thoughts, both good and bad, and then: just let them go by?

If your mind is always working (and, if you can read this, your mind is always working), why don’t you just sit still for a moment and wait for it to work for you? Thoughts of failure don’t have to be entertained. Similarly, getting ramped up over a possible outcome is also probably not a good idea. Take a minute to take no action, if you can.

Wait for the thoughts that will serve you best. Those are the thoughts that reflect your innate understanding of what you need to do, to move forward. Fear or unwarranted enthusiasm is not the answer – take time to quietly examine your thoughts on the subject, and engage with the ones that will help you most.

That’s where your story starts, you know – with the story you tell yourself. A belief is just a thought – and another one is on its way, if you are willing to listen.

Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds via Compfight cc

Chris Westfall

Chris Westfall is the US National Elevator Pitch Champion, and a sought-after expert on persuasion and influence.His strategies have helped his clients to land on Shark Tank, Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank – Australia.He is the publisher of The Millennial CEO by Daniel Newman, as well as six other business books. As the official pitch coach at the nation’s fifth-largest university, he has helped Millennial business leaders to raise over $3 million in new venture funding over the past two years.He regularly speaks to thousands of corporate leaders each month on effective communication, collaboration and leadership.

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