The following are a few
approaches to handling objections.
technique for handling virtually any objection is called the feel,
felt, found technique. It goes like this: Your prospect (agent,
manager, lender, homebuyer, lawyer) indicates that they don't want to
use you because of objection ‘X.’ Your answer is, "I understand why
you feel that way. Many of my repeat clients felt that
way initially, too, but they found that ..." And here's where
you explain some of the benefits that might convince the prospect to
This technique validates the objection rather than dismissing it. It
also makes the client feel smart because others feel the same way.
After you have told them that their concern is valid and shared by
others, they relax a little. They are more receptive to the solution,
especially since it is presented as an indirect testimonial: "It's not
me saying it, it’s what other clients have found."
This technique has the benefit of being simple and you can use it for
any objection. If you have it at your fingertips, you can pull it out
when you hear an objection you were not prepared for. At least you
will have ten seconds to think of an answer.
A hot button is something that is most important to
your prospect. If you can identify your prospect's hot button, you're
as good as there. For example, a real estate agent may lament to you
that all she wants is for home inspectors to be "even keeled." She
doesn’t care what problems are identified during the inspection, as
long as the inspector keeps them in perspective. You now have your hot
(story continues below)
During your presentation, you come up with a half dozen ways about how
you "keep an even keel." For example, you present instances of your
good “bedside manner,” how you help clients keep things in
perspective, your down-to-earth style, your balanced approach, and
your non-alarmist presentation of house conditions. Forget about all
of the other benefits of your service and work the hot button.
Timing is Everything
We said that the sales process involves discovering people’s
objections and addressing them. Until these have been dealt with, you
cannot assume the prospect is ready to make a buying decision. There
are, however, different times at which you can deal with objections,
which can create challenges:
You can answer objections as they are presented to you.
You can figure out what the objections are during the course of the
presentation and then bring them up yourself, if the prospect is not
entirely forthcoming about them.
You can address objections later when you feel the time is right.
This is especially important when discussing price, particularly if it
comes up early in the conversation. You are better off acknowledging
that you understand that price is an important issue and asking the
customer if you can come back to it.
Offering proof is a good way to diminish someone’s objection. Here’s
an example: if you are on the phone with a client who thinks your fee
is too high, as we noted earlier, you should agree with the prospect
that you are more expensive and ask if you can explain why. Once you
have elaborated on the benefits of your service, you can add, “You can
see that while we are a bit more expensive than some other
inspection companies, we offer more value. Furthermore, we
are only $25 more expensive than other professional home inspection
companies. My three main competitors charge X, Y, and Z.” This last
piece of information is the proof. You are offering specific data.
Even better, you could fax your competitor’s price schedule. Some
people respond well to concrete information like this.
Another example of concrete proof is the testimonial. This works
for prospective clients, real estate agents and others. If you can get
an agent to write a testimonial about how great your inspections are,
you can pull out the letter as an answer to an objection. For example,
say the agent you want to work with expresses concern about trying you
because their current inspector is very good with their clients and
the agent doesn’t want to lose this benefit. You can use the “feel,
felt, found” technique in conjunction with a testimonial letter. “I
understand how you feel. Most of the agents who refer business
to me now felt that way, too, but they found that my
client-handling skills are better than they’d ever seen. In fact, they
are so happy with my skills that I get letters like this.” Then you
pull out a testimonial letter that articulates how well you handled a
difficult situation. This is a lot more powerful that simply saying,
“Relax, I know how to handle my clients.”
A website is a great tool for presenting testimonials. The more
credible the testimonial, the more valuable it is. If possible, get
permission to use the person’s full name, rather than initials. To add
another dimension and make the testimonial even more credible, include
a photo of the person offering the testimonial. You will have to ask
permission, of course.
Reprinted with permission of Carson Dunlop & Associates, Ltd.