Beep Beep!  Remember the Road Runner cartoon? It always amazed us how this crazy character could out maneuver ole Wile E. Coyote. He could jump over the greatest of obstacles and basically escape anything! Poor ole Wile E. He just never succeeded. He always used absurdly complex contraptions and elaborate plans to pursue the Road Runner. And it always backfired with Wile E. getting injured by the slapstick humor.

Every one of us faces some sort of obstacle, objection or something objectionable in our daily lives. Many times we have no control over the situation. You can’t please all of the people all of the time right? Other times there are things we can do to right the wrong. Neighbors object to your dog barking too long and too loud. Fixable. Parents object to a son or daughter moving too far away. That is why Skype was invented right? Friends object to you not taking enough time to get together to share a few laughs and stories. Fixable. Lawyers always object to something. Not fixable. And for politicians -very fixable –reach for the mute button. 

So who do you have in your sales office? Road runners or Wile E. Coyotes? Objections are very much part of a sales agent’s daily life. So why are objections so difficult to deal with during the course of the sales encounter? If we can deal with them in our every day life, then when an agent gets confronted with one from a prospective buyer, why is it such a challenge? Too often the agent refuses to deal with it. Or perhaps they just don’t know how.

Some agents look at objections as a deal killer. Successful salespeople view objections as opportunities to enlighten the buyer, to learn more about who they are selling to, and to convince them of how the agent can help. Buyers raise objections when they don’t understand, accept or agree with what you say or what they see. Sometimes a buyer’s concern is just a perception. The agent must clarify and confirm what is legitimate or just a temporary road block towards making a purchase decision.

1.    The first rule? Acknowledge it; don’t ignore it. If a concern is raised, it is a concern. The buyer needs to be heard. The agent should listen attentively. Don’t interrupt until the buyer has fully explained the objections in his or her own words. Then the agent should repeat the objections using the buyer’s words to make sure the agent fully understands it. While we always need to acknowledge the concern, sometimes what is raised is beyond anyone’s control (no we can’t move the airport) or it is totally irrelevant to your community (we are not near any forests or woods so we are not bothered by bears).

2.    Secondly, the agent needs to probe to clarify the objection. This is done by questioning. ‘So if I understand you correctly John, when you say you do not like the small 3rd bedroom, exactly why do you think it is too small? Tell me how you plan to use it. Are you concerned that your office furniture might not fit?’ Some other examples to use are: “Tell how you feel about ….? Is there anything more that you’d like to know?” “Do you think this will help to solve your concern?” 

3.    To succeed at clarifying the objection, the sales agent must be sure of several things. All of the below information can be obtained through a combination of questions and conversation: 

•    Know what kind of concern the buyer is expressing. If the buyer expresses a drawback about your product, the agent might want to emphasize other features and benefits. ‘John you seem concerned about the size of the rear yard. If I heard you correctly, you stated you no longer wanted to deal with the hassle of yard maintenance correct? Our homes provide just the right amount of space for that buyer who doesn’t want that back yard drudgery’. If the buyer misunderstands something, the agent may have to provide additional information or repeat what they have said in a different way.

•    Understand the concern thoroughly. Behind many prospective buyer’s objections are unexpressed or unidentified needs. By probing, you can uncover hidden needs, learn more about the buyer, and gain the opportunity to demonstrate how you can satisfy those needs. 

•    Allow the buyer to fully express doubts or misgivings. When buyers are reluctant to express objections, probing may help them open up and say exactly what’s on their mind. While the agent needs to selectively utilize this approach, probing questions and conversation fosters a better exchange of information between the agent and the buyer. This helps to build a stronger relationship. Some examples: “Tell me what you want to know John.” “John, what kind of information would make you feel more comfortable?”

Note:  The above points can be a great exercise for agents to practice in sales meetings or with their partner in their respective sales centers.

4.    When an agent feels they adequately understand the customer’s concern, they need to provide the appropriate information to resolve it. Always make sure it is relevant and appropriate. Always make sure the information you provide has been accepted by the buyer and that the concern has been resolved to their satisfaction. The agent might simply ask, “Does that satisfy your concern?” The agent should then pay close attention to the buyer’s body language and facial expressions. If the agent senses any discomfort or continued concerns, the agent should ask, “Would you like me to walk you through this again just to make sure we’ve covered everything to your satisfaction?”

5.    The true sales professional should be able to identify the various types of objections they will encounter in their community. The best way to deal with objections is to anticipate and prepare for them. Many top sales people have their own system for classifying objections. We suggest that an agent think of all the objections that might arise in their community and then prepare how they would resolve them. Note:  If you have one or two repeated objections to either your community or product, but your prospective buyer does not raise them, then don’t insert them into the initial presentation! Why create a hurdle when the sale could be guided down a straight path? Be alert if there is some hesitation, but don’t construct your own barriers.

6.    Another important factor in dealing with objections is to respect the customer’s honesty. While all agents encounter the individual that objects for the sake of an objection, most objections represent real concerns or a question the buyer needs to have answered to justify their purchase decision. When an agent acknowledges the right of a buyer to raise objections, they will be able to develop a more positive attitude and accept them as a normal part of the sales process.

7.    Never enter into a debate. Agents need not always be right. Buyer’s objections can sometimes make an agent feel defensive about their product and themselves. Never allow your emotional response control how you respond. Otherwise, you might adopt an adversarial stance with the buyer and undermine rapport. Instead, focus on educating the buyer by clearing up any misunderstandings, offer substantive information, and provide targeted information on your product’s features and benefits.

8.    Finally, if you are satisfied you have resolved your buyer’s concern, ask for the sale!

Managers, when you need to identify the Road Runners and Wile E. Coyotes in your sales centers, allow LeBlanc & Associates to help. If you need to verify your sales team knows how to eliminate those roadblocks to create a successful sale, we are here to help. Our Video Profiles will document both the visual message and the spoken word. Our reports will bring together all the components of the sales presentation into an effective training tool. We will clarify and confirm what barriers are real or perceived by your agents. It’s easy! Give us a call or submit a request online. 

Top 10 Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities looked at the 100 largest cities in America to see which are growing the fastest. To arrive at their rankings, they used a combination of 2015 and (predicted) 2016 population growth, as well as job and economic growth. Two cities each in Texas, California, Florida and Utah made the list. Here’s the top 10, along with their 2015 population growth:
1. Austin, TX 3.15%
2. San Francisco, CA 1.24%
3. Dallas, TX 2.16%
4. Seattle, WA 1.68%
5. Salt Lake City, UT 1.05%
6. Ogden, UT 1.64%
7. Orlando, FL 2.31%
8. San Jose, CA 1.27%
9. Raleigh, NC 2.28%
10. Cape Coral, FL 2.84%