Reducing Resistance and Countering Concerns
by Rebecca L. Morgan, CSP, CMC

980 words

Wouldn't it be great if everyone you contacted about your services jumped at the opportunity to list or buy a home with you? Yes, there are many who still live in this dreamland and are dismayed when a prospect voices an objection.

Resistance, or objections, are concerns expressed by the prospect, and are either real, or a guise to get rid of you.

The worst objection to work with is the one which is not voiced. There is an opportunity to overcome a stated objection, but you can never counter an unstated one. So be glad when a prospect does share a concern.

Sometimes prospects bring up objections to test the salesperson. In response to an objection, if the salesperson is timid, or has trouble responding well, the prospect loses respect for the salesperson.

There are several objections you will rarely overcome to close the sale today. These objections are: this prospect is not the decision maker, the prospect does not like you personally, and there is no money. Sometimes these can be smoke screens, so don't give up immediately. But if you discover these are the true objections, you won't close a sale today.

Probe for the Objection
If you have tried to close the sale and the prospect says "I want to think about it," or "I don't know," you need to uncover the objection(s). Ask the prospect about the hidden objection.
"What would cause you to not choose this home?"
"What reservations do you have?"
"Will you level with me? What is causing you to hesitate?"
"Do you mind my asking why you feel that way?"
"It seems that something is standing in your way of making your decision today. Is it...?"

Listen Carefully
Avoid preparing your response until you have completely heard his/her concern. Make short notes while s/he's talking so you won't be distracted trying to remember your comment.

Get Clarification/Specifics
Make sure any concern is clear to you. If you hear "It's too expensive" find out what that means:
"Would you share with me what "too expensive" means to you?"

Make sure the prospect is telling you the true objection
After getting an objection, you should ask:
"Is there anything else that concerns you?"
"Is there anything else causing you to hesitate?"

Always use verbal cushions
When a prospect voices a concern, don't counter the objection immediately. First, use a verbal cushion to show you heard the concern. Some verbal cushions are:
"I understand how you might feel that way."
"I appreciate your concern."
"I was concerned about that too when I first heard about it until..."
"Others felt that way at first."

Use the "Three F's Technique
The "Three F's" (feel, felt, and found) is one of the oldest sales techniques around, yet few people use it. The 3 F's work using either the first person (I) or third person (others), like this:

"I see why you feel that way. (cushion)
I felt that way at first.
So I researched why this home was listed slightly higher than others in the area and discovered …"

"I understand how you could feel that way.
Others have felt that way at first.
But then they found the long term benefits far outweigh the initial cost."

Avoid "I know how you feel." This will cause defensiveness as many think "you have no idea how I feel."

End your response with a buying-temperature taking question
Find out if s/he agrees with and understands your explanation. Just as we discussed doing this after stating several benefits, you ask a question.
"Does that make sense?"
"You want long durability don't you?"
"It is important to you to have minimal rejects, isn't it?"

Avoid arguing
Don't argue with the prospect, even if s/he gives you an objection that is untrue. Dale Carnegie said "The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it." (By the way, this works at home too.)

Avoid beginning your response with "Yes, but..." as that is argumentative. Also avoid; "I'm glad you brought that up" as this phrase is a cliché.

Often you will hear an objection about a topic you already covered. Don't get annoyed, explain it again. Rarely is anyone listening to 100% of a presentation. Calmly repeat the information as if you hadn't said it before.

Make your answers short
When responding to a concern, keep your answers brief and to the point. Don't elaborate in excessive detail. Make sure you voice does not sound defensive.

Change the objection into a sales point
Sometimes objections can be turned into sales points. It won't work with every objection.

For example, a life insurance salesperson could counter a prospects objection "I plan to buy my life insurance from my brother-in-law." She might turn that into a sales point by responding:

"Developing the right life insurance program requires asking some very personal questions. I know I wouldn't want some of my relatives privy to that sort of information about me. Many people find an unbiased party easier to talk to about their personal values, goals and financial situation."

Don't take it personally
You can't always get a "yes" even though you answer the objections verbalized. Sheila Murray Bethel, President of The Bethel Institute, says 'no' is not a personal rejection, it's a business refusal." It means the prospect may not have enough information to justify buying, or the need isn't there, or the money isn't there. It does not mean you aren't a good person.

Even if you have competent sales skills you won't overcome all objections. It's important to listen carefully, probe for the underlying objection, get clarification, and then verbally cushion your response. Keep in mind the saying: "The people who can hear the most nos make the most money" because they have persistence, healthy egos, and are seeing many prospects.

© 1988 Morgan Seminar Group

Rebecca L. Morgan, CSP, is a dynamic speaker and seminarist. She is the author of four books, TurboTime: Maximizing Your Results Through Technology, Calming Upset Customers, Life's Lessons: Insights and Information for a Richer Life, and Professional Selling. For information on her speaking services, books, and tapes contact her at 1440 Newport Ave., San Jose, CA 95125, 408/998-7977, 800/247-9662, fax: 408/998-1742,, Please contact Rebecca for permission to reprint or repost this item.

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