The Champion Do’s and Don’ts of Objection HandlingDirk Zeller
There is a series of mistakes that prevent most salespeople from reaching the Champion level in their objection handling. In this article, I am going to address the most common mistakes that stunt a real estate agent’s progress.
1. DO! – Let them be heard
I have listened to countless agents’ presentations. Often, when the client begins to object, the agent will leap into objection handling mode too soon. Many don’t even wait to let the prospect finish their thought. They interrupt, which is certainly rude to the prospect. It can also cause frustration on the part of the prospect. It’s almost as if the agent is hoping to stuff the objection back into their mouth before they even get it out. We need to let he prospect express their view and concerns fully.
2. DON’T! – Argue and lose
There is a fine balance between guiding them to the truth of your advantage and the marketplace realities and arguing with the prospect. I know I have, at times, crossed the line into arguing. Almost every time I did, it cost me the transaction or listing. When you feel that you are beginning to be at odds with the prospect, you need to re-phrase everything into a question. It moves what might be considered verbal swordplay into a one-man-battle. The prospect will be using his sword against himself with the right questions. He will be the one getting cut.
3. DO! – Shrink it down to size
We need to shrink any financial objection down to the true size. If it’s a commission objection (when we want 6%, and the seller wants to pay 5%), we need to shrink it down to the 1% difference and not talk about the 6% and the 5% commission. If the seller wants to list at $450,000, and you know it needs to be priced at $399,000, you need to talk about $50,000.
We need to use payment, interest rate, inventory levels, list price to sales price, and monthly or even daily cost. The smaller we can make the difference between where they want to be and what we think is necessary to achieve their goals and create a reasonable fee for us, the better. That is the key discussion.
Once you have shrunk it down, you can then do a comparison close of the difference. Ask them, “If (the commission rate, initial list price, etc.) was the same between myself and Agent X, who would you select to represent your interests? So, if I would be willing to _______________ like Agent X, you will commit to working with me right now . . . correct?” We have to be able to define the reason and the size of the objection into the smallest differential between where we want to be and where the prospect wants to be.
4. DON’T! – Be the “but” of the problem
The most common error in objection handling is the usage of the word “but”. A “but” used in objection handling is the kiss of death. The “but” negates what you said up until that juncture.
For example: “I understand how you feel about my commission, but I really feel I am worth it.”
“I hear what you are saying about the list price you want to start at, but are you aware of the market conditions?”
Using “but” tells the prospect you really didn’t listen to them, and in fact, you don’t even care that you didn’t listen. It also says, “The things I said to you were said to make you feel comfortable with me. I am just trying to manipulate you to make a sale. I wanted to make you feel that I liked you and accepted your thoughts.”
The “but” says, “I’d argue with you, but you are wrong.” One other caution is that many salespeople try to substitute “however” instead of “but”. The truth is “however” is really a dressed up “but”. It’s really a “but” with a bow tie on.
5. DO! – Get offensive
Objection handling is really an offensive opportunity. It’s not a time to play defense. When you respond to an objection, the final part of the objection should be a question. You should respond to the objection and then ask for them to proceed forward. Even asking them if they have any other questions sets the stage for the close. You can use any question you want. You could ask them, “Shall we get started?” or “Do you want me to handle the sale for you?” or “Shall we do a broker open this week or next?” or “When can I bring the first buyer through?” There is an unending series of questions that can be asked. We have to get in the mindset that we are going to hear objections as a scoring opportunity.