If you want to persuade someone to say yes, improving the positive features of your offer is not the only way to overcome resistance.

When people make decisions, they often have mixed feelings because there are pros and cons to almost everything. So they balance the positive qualities (reasons to say yes) with those that make them hesitate. To overcome resistance, many writers and speakers try to strengthen the positive aspects of their offer to make it look better. An alternative approach is to focus on why the audience is resistant. Reducing the unappealing features is a way to remove the audience’s objections.

Here are a few tactics:

Give a guarantee

A guarantee will ease the audience’s concern about what will happen if something fails.  L.L. Bean, the sporting goods outfitter in Maine, is known worldwide for its customer service. It’s return policy says, Our products are guaranteed to give 100 percent satisfaction. Return anything purchased from us at any time if it proves otherwise. We do not want you to have anything from L.L.Bean that is not completely satisfactory. Such a policy eases a shopper’s anxiety. What if it shrinks? What if it’s flawed? What if it doesn’t fit with my other clothes?

Similarly, if you are trying to persuade a colleague to take on a project, the person is likely to wonder about the ramifications of saying yes. What if it’s too time consuming? What if I don’t like it? So by telling the person “I guarantee you that you won’t have to invest much time, and if you do, you can withdraw or we can find someone to help you,” the person is likely to feel more comfortable comply with saying yes.

Make it less personal

Try saying, We need to do X, rather than I need you to do X. Similarly, People should realize will generate less resistance than You should realize. If you avoid referring to the person, the message seems less pointed. You also can make it clear this is not your idea. The vice president wants us to do it, or Senior leadership believes strongly that we need to participate.

Address the resistance directly
Be candid about the reader or listener’s opposition or skepticism. If you acknowledge it up front by saying, “I know that you are skeptical about my proposal; I understand your concerns,” you honor their feelings and treat their viewpoint respectfully. By being empathetic, you build a bond with the audience, and they are more likely to accept your point of view favorably.