“If I Let YOU Telecommute…” How to Handle the Objection

Ready to pitch your request to telecommute? When preparing to present your proposal, get ready to respond to objections.

Every manager is different, of course. There are some who respond to an outstanding proposal with agreement to at least a trial period of telecommuting. Even so, be ready to address any push back, just in case.

One of the more common objections among managers who are apprehensive about managing a remote worker (read: fear of losing control) is this one:

“If I let you telecommute, then everyone else will want to.”

Here’s an example of how to respond: “In practice, other companies find that most people prefer to continue their usual work arrangement. Many people and some jobs are not suited for telecommuting. In my case, it’s a good match. Why don’t we go ahead and give it a fair trial period?

You can stop with that short reply or add the following:

“Should there be a strong response to my arrangement, it would be good cause for us as an organization to look at setting up a policy and procedure for dealing with new requests. There are thousands of employers which use telecommuting and flexible scheduling as a business strategy after which we could model ourselves. Those who don’t have policies are handling it successfully on an informal basis between supervisor and employee, just as I am with you now. Why don’t we view my trial period as a test?

Be Strategic in Your Responses

Notice a couple of things: One, you’re ending each response with a question that invites reasonable action–and a reasonable response from your manager. It’s subtle, but effective.

If you find the “Why…” question structure too bold, you can modify it to “Would you consider…” So, “Would you consider giving me a fair trial period and then evaluate?” and “Would you be open to viewing a trial period as a test?”

Two, the question focuses on the trial period which is a smaller hurdle for managers to jump when making the decision to grant a telecommuting arrangement. Propose a trial period of three months, working remotely two days a week.

Prepare for Other Possible Objections to Your Request to Telecommute

What are some other common objections? How can you prepare for them?

OBJECTION: “We’ve never done this before.” OR “It’s not our policy.”

OBJECTION: “You’re a manager; you can’t telecommute.”

OBJECTION: “Your type of job can’t be turned into telecommuting.”

OBJECTION: “Why do you want to telecommute anyway?”

How would you answer these? Get scripted replies to all of the above and more in the Telecommuting Proposal Package.

Rehearsing Makes a Difference

Practice, practice, practice your responses to each likely objection. It will make a difference! Why? Because even if you can’t recall the words exactly as written when you present to your manager, your repetitive practice will imprint onto your mind the essence of each response. As a result, you’ll be able to respond readily and confidently when faced with each objection. Confidence is a big part of a successful negotiation—including your request to telecommute.

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