Objections. We face them daily when dealing with family, friends and co-workers.
You: “Why don’t we go to Miami for Spring Break?”
Spouse: “I don’t know if we can afford it.”
You: “Why don’t we take a look and see.”
But yet they seem to create issues for us when we’re dealing with clients.
You: “Are you ready to go ahead and sign the Listing Agreement?”
Client: “Will you reduce your commission?”
You thinking: “Damn, I was hoping they wouldn’t bring that up. Now what do I say?”
An objection, unlike when dealing with lawyers, is not a rejection of a particular point but rather a request for more information or clarification of that point. Objections can actually help close a sale since, if handled correctly, they can reveal quite a lot about the concerns of the client and point you in the direction of the answer they’re looking for. However, it’s important to understand that not every No may really be No. Sometimes, it may be a stall, where the client may not be prepared to make a decision, but don’t want you to know it and therefore hide the true objection behind the stall. One of the classic stalls is, “I need to think about it.” This often occurs when the client feels like they’re being pressured to make a decision when they don’t have opportunity to review the facts.
There are generally three main reasons for objections to occur:
- The client has a concern about something that needs to be dealt with
- They’re uncertain or have a doubt about a bit of information you’ve given them and need clarification
- They’re unmotivated and aren’t ready to proceed at this point in time.
What I’ve found is that managing (notice I didn’t use the word “handling”) objections can actually be quite BASIQ. And, no, I didn’t spell it wrong.
The mnemonic means:
- B – Breathe
- A – Acknowledge
- S – Sound it Back
- I – Isolate it
- Q – Questions (Lots of Questions)
All too often, when “handling” objections, a salesperson will try to prove the client wrong. David Knox calls it the “Tennis Match Syndrome”. I call it the “Yabuts”.
- Client: “I think this…”
- Salesperson: “Yeah, but this…”
- Client: “I’m not sure. I think…”
- Salesperson: “Yeah, but…,” etc., etc., etc. …The Yabuts
To avoid this happening, the first step in managing objections is to stop and take a deep breath before saying anything. This allows everyone time to think, to consider the client’s statement and eliminates the automatic “Let me show you why you’re wrong” response.
Once you’ve effectively stepped back from the Yabuts, you need to acknowledge that a) the client has a concern and b) that the client has the right to have a concern. To accomplish this is simply a matter of nodding your head and/or saying something as simple as “OK” or “Uh huh” or something that signals your acknowledgement of the concern.
Sound it Back
At this point you’re going to need to indicate that you’ve heard their concern and that you understand it. By sounding the concern back to the client you can make sure that what you heard was actually what they were saying.
“OK. So what I’m hearing you saying is…Is that right?”
Helpful hint here. You need to really listen to what they’re saying, not be thinking about what your response is going to be before they’ve finished their statement.
Managing objections is a lot easier if you know what ALL the concerns are right up front. In this step, your job is to find out if the concern they expressed is the only one or if there are others as well. Nothing is more frustrating than managing one objection and trying to close only to find out there’s another concern, and another and another. By this point, you’re thinking, “OMG, will you stop already!”
By asking the question, “If we deal with this, is there anything else holding you back from moving forward?” you will save yourself from some serious frustration.
This is where you get to dig into the concern and give them the information they need to help them make the decision to move forward. By asking loads of open ended questions you can help them come to a better understanding of the information, eliminate any doubt or skepticism they make have or determine their true motivation.
This stage can be broken down into four separate stages.
- Closing Questions, which require a yes or no answer. “If I can show you how this will address your concern / disbelief / uncertainty, will that help you make a decision?”
- Inquiry Questions, which are open ended and require the client to give you information about their concerns. Questions such as Who, What, When, Where, Why, How and my favourite, Tell me more about that.
- “Mr. and Mrs. Seller, can you tell me more about what you would expect from your REALTOR°?”
- “Can you tell me more about why you feel…?”
- “How would you prefer we communicate with you?”
- Confirmatory Questions, which confirm that what you believe you heard them say is correct and allow you to clarify any points you may have misunderstood.
- “So what I’m hearing you say is that…is a concern. Is that right?”
- And finally, the Final Close.
- “OK, so we’ve talked about this, that and the other concerns. And you agree that what we talked about makes sense. So why don’t we move forward and sign the contract?”
And that’s how BASIQ managing objections can be. It’s not about showing them the errors of their ways, or using the stock answers we’ve all learned over our careers. It’s about asking the client what’s concerning them, listening to their concerns and then helping them come to a better understanding about the information.
So, stop handling objections and start managing them. And keep it BASIQ.