Managing Objections: Part seven of a 12-Part series highlighting the development of a proven New Home Sales Process.
Regardless of how dazzling and complete your presentation is, the fear of making a mistake might cause your prospect to be doubtful and hesitant. You will have to deal with his concerns before you are able to conclude the sale. Even if the prospect responds in an abrasive manner, he is telling you that he is emotionally involved and interested.
I. OBJECTIONS OFTEN MEAN THE PROSPECT NEEDS MORE INFORMATION. ASKING QUESTIONS AND EXPRESSING CONCERNS ARE HOW THE PROSPECT GATHERS INFORMATION.
A. When he says, "I need to think it over,” what the prospect is saying is, "I am not yet convinced and need additional information to be certain of the decision."
B. If the prospect says, "I need to talk this over with my banker, family, accountant (or any other third party),” she is actually saying, "I need approval and assurance."
C. Of course, the response, "I’m just looking or beginning to look" during your initial contact means that they do not have enough information to make a buying decision.
II. OBJECTIONS ARE YOUR SIGN POSTS.
This input from the prospect serves as critical path markers, which you must follow. Whatever issues the prospect challenges are the most important to him, and therefore to you.
III. OBJECTIONS INDICATE INTEREST.
If you receive no objections, then your prospect is generally not interested. They may appear unemotional, without responding to anything you say, or they will comment "Yes, it sounds great!" throughout the presentation. If the prospect responds either way, you may be in trouble.
Objections versus Conditions
There is a difference between an objection and a condition. An objection is nothing more than an unanswered question. Somewhere in your presentation, you have either said something, or failed to address an issue, which leaves a question in the prospect’s mind. It is fed back to you as an objection. The good thing is that it’s something concrete, which you can address and overcome.
A condition, on the other hand, is an obstacle. Conditions are barriers or situations that prevent a prospect from buying. For instance, a prospect may not meet the financial criteria. Perhaps they must sell their home and cannot put adequate funds together for a year or more. Perhaps a prospect says, "I cannot make a decision without my spouse (or significant other)." In both cases, these are conditions you cannot remedy, even with a brilliant presentation.
Objections Are Predictable:The Law of Six
The Law of Six states: Customers really have no more than six objections to owning a property in your community. Your job as a professional is to discover what the six common objections (that you hear consistently) are and then to develop airtight responses. The point is that you cannot wait until you are involved in the presentation and then try to make up an answer. You must proactively prepare a planned response in advance.
The Customer’s and The Salesperson’s Objections
There are the objections you receive from the prospect. These objections are the easiest to overcome. However, there are also the objections the salesperson creates in his own mind as to why a customer would not own. These mental objections can by far be the most destructive.
Uncover the Unspoken Objection
Many times, what prohibits the sale is the one final objection that is hidden by a series of small objections.When you are at the point where you sense that the prospect is hesitating and hiding behind a smoke-screen objection, ask:
"Ms. Prospect, I sense a bit of hesitancy.
Do you mind my asking what it is?"
With the Just Suppose Close, you remove the final objection as the reason for not going ahead, by offering conditional terms. With "conditional terms," you have arrived at the final objection and the prospect says, "I need to check with my banker." You reply, "Mr. Prospect, that makes perfect sense. Prior to your speaking with the banker, and to facilitate the transaction in a timely fashion, let’s prepare the paperwork now, and we will make the sale subject to your banker’s final approval. This way we can start the process, and if by chance, the bank does not agree with your decision, then we will simply start over. That makes sense, doesn’t it?"
Answer Objections in a Positive Manner
When you are offered an objection, remain calm and non-argumentative. Welcome the objection. You want the prospect to feel the freedom to object and to continue objecting until there are no more concerns. Respond, "Mr. Prospect, that’s a great question." (or) "Thanks for bringing that up." And then answer the objection.
Feel, Felt, Found
Another way of handling an objection is with the feel, felt, found method. It’s based on creating strong perceptions, which reveal you to be understanding and empathetic. It also employs the closing technique of third-party testimonial endorsements. When the prospect says "It’s too expensive,” you can respond, "Mr. Prospect, I understand how you feel. I recently had a customer who was in a similar situation and he felt the same as you. However, what he found as a result of owning one of our brand new homes was that, although the price seemed initially higher, our service and warranties far outweighed the value our competitor could offer. Tell me, is price your only concern, or would reliable service and extended warranties also be important considerations?"
Six-Step Method to Overcoming Objections
STEP 1: HEAR THE OBJECTION OUT
Do not interrupt, but listen attentively to the entire objection. Though you may have heard the objection one thousand times before, it is the prospect’s first time expressing his or her concern to you.
STEP 2: REPEAT THE OBJECTION BACK TO THE PROSPECT
When the prospect says, "I want to make the developer/builder an offer," repeat it as a question, "You want to make an offer?" By repeating the objection, you are in effect, asking for more information.
STEP 3: QUESTION THE OBJECTION
"Mr. Prospect, let me clarify my thinking or let me be sure that I understand you correctly. If it were not for (objection), then you would proceed forward today? Is that right?"
Remain silent and let him answer.
STEP 4: ANSWER THE OBJECTION WITH YOUR PRE-PLANNED RESPONSE
Once you’re certain that you have the whole story behind their concerns, you can deliver your pre-planned response with confidence.
STEP 5: CONFIRM THAT THE OBJECTION DOES NOT BLOCK THE SALE
"That answers your question then, doesn’t it, Mr. Prospect?" (or) "That makes sense to you, doesn’t it?" If the prospect is not satisfied with your answer, now is the time to know. You cannot move forward and close until you are certain the issues are satisfied. If the prospect is satisfied, move to Step 6.
STEP 6: CLOSE
It is important for you to understand that handling objections and the closing are events which occur simultaneously. You overcome the objection (s), then move to the close.
The Final WordIn the words of the respected golfer, Jack Nicholas, "It’s too late to practice your game on the course, during the match."
Objections occur during the final minutes of the selling match, but that isn’t the time for you to be practicing your responses. Plan ahead. Anticipate the objections, prepare your answers, internalize and memorize your replies.
Myers Barnes Associates, Inc.
Next Installment: Your Prospect Will Remain a Prospect Until You Close