Overcoming Customer Objections

Ken Corbin: MH Sales Process
Manufactured housing industry sales consultant Ken Corbin.

“One of the best predictors of ultimate success isn’t natural talent or industry expertise. It’s how you overcome objections and explain failures.” 

Ken Corbin

Pareto’s Law

Here’s an interesting question: Are you serious about earning more money by overcoming more objections? Of course, everyone says, “Yes, I want to earn more sales commissions!”

If it was that easy, everyone would sell a lot of homes and make more money overcoming simple, easy customer objections.  

Unfortunately, the 80/20 rule carries in our industry. It’s called “Pareto’s Law,” and says 20 percent of all the housing consultants make 80 percent of all the commissions. Unfortunately, 80 percent of all salespeople make only 20 percent of the earnings.

The sales strategies we’ll discuss to overcome objections will give you some well-proven ideas and strategies to help you deal with demanding situations and close more sales. There’s no waffle or padding, just the information you need to increase your sales by overcoming more objections.

A few strategies to overcome objections from customers.
Learn how professional home sellers can talk customers through questions, as well as identify and solve customer objections.

So, What are Objections?

They’re just a part of the complete home-selling process. This section will also deal with some added appointment setting and prospecting. As we go through it, we’ll build into a sales training resource for every stage of the selling process.

Objections can occur anywhere in the sales process. The most common objection, or smoke screen, you’ll hear is “I’m only looking,” before you even say anything.

Think about reasons behind such a simple statement from the customer:

  • They don’t want to show any commitment by asking for help
  • They’d like help, but don’t want to show lack of knowledge
  • They don’t want to give any financial details
  • There’s a fear of salespeople
  • They’re short on time

Many new housing consultants automatically will become frustrated. My goodness, all you did was offer your assistance! How were you supposed to know what was going on in their head?

Here are some techniques to overcome objections that will add to your sales skills. These techniques will give you additional strategies and skills anywhere in the sales process. The aim is to give you alternative viewpoints on how to handle objections in the home-selling process, so you can adapt them for your sales role. At no point am I saying scrap what you do now and do it this way. Sales is about acquiring new skills and using the best techniques in each sales situation.

Objection or Question

Ask questions to overcome objections
If you have the right kind of conversation, a customer will tell you what’s really troubling them.

Many housing consultants who first attend my sales seminars confuse questions with objections.

“Is there a full guarantee on not just the home, but the appliances?” is not an objection to the home. It’s a question. It’s also a clue as to the benefits the buyer is looking for in the transaction.

Get the prospective homeowner to ask questions. Encourage it. There is nothing more frustrating than a low-reaction customer who gives little information with one-word answers.

Even questions phrased negatively should be welcomed, not seen as objections.

“Do you think that’s an awfully expensive price?” is not an objection. It’s a question. And it’s easily answered with, “That’s a great question and let me show you the added value this home offers you and your family.”

Of course, the best way to utilize these sales techniques is to answer the objection in your own words, appropriate to the situation. Just like there are different personalities, there are numerous ways to overcome objections during the selling process. Over time, you’ll develop your own set of phrases and techniques that fit not only your personality, but the personality of the customer.

Overcome Objections Strategic Problem Solving.

The Two Types of Objections

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it or work around it.”

-Michael Jordan

First, let’s discuss what are called smoke screens. There IS an objection the potential homeowner has; although they’re simply hiding it.

One thing to remember is this can be intentional or subconscious. Even if you use razor-sharp methods to answer the objection, you may be no closer to a sale. It’s because, in their mind, you haven’t answered the real objection.

Unfortunately, sometimes you’ll find more objections keep popping up to create even more smoke screens. It can become not only frustrating for you, but for your customer.

The key to solving this is in how you define the real objection. Let’s take a moment and consider this statement… “That sounds VERY expensive!”

Is this a genuine objection or a smoke screen?

Genuine objections are honest reasons for not moving forward. It’s important to remember this is from the customer’s point of view. It’s a genuine objection they’ve developed based on the information they have at that moment, AND the viewpoint they have formed.

You may know they are wrong. Unfortunately, that’s your viewpoint, and the only one that counts is the viewpoint of the potential homeowner. Even if you’re talking from a more informed position, the customer’s objection is real in their mind. So, treat it as a genuine objection.

Over the years, I’ve found it more effective to categorize objections as “Defined” or “Vague,” rather than real and smoke screen.

The objection was, “That sounds very expensive.” It’s now viewed as a vague objection that needs defining by asking good questions.

Not Acknowledging the Objection

Here’s where you need to learn to be flexible. In most instances, I recommend you acknowledge the homebuyer’s objection, repeating and rephrasing it.  

Depending on the customer, the situation and the objection, it’s possible you can add strength to their objection by acknowledging it. As an example, if you say, “I can see why you might think that,” or, “I appreciate what you’re saying,” you’re agreeing with them.

Overcome customer objections with specific strategies
There are specific strategies to overcome customer objections.

It’s what I call “Getting Caught.” It’s going to happen to you, and when it does, I would use an acknowledgment that’s followed by an effective phrase.

For example: “I can see why you might think that, because I haven’t shown you all of the standard features in this series of homes. Many of the items I’ll show you would be expensive options in other models. I think you’ll appreciate how these custom features will save you time, money and offer the convenience you’re looking for in your new home.”

This technique is best used when the objection is clearly defined and you can answer it. It’s simply a process that’s constant, that can be assessed, altered, adapted and made more effective.

If you just answer objections, with no thought to the process, you’ll find it hard to know which parts are working and which parts to change. So, prior to answering their objections, you must define them.

Research how to overcome objections from customers
Take time to find solutions for customer objections.

How to Define True Objections

  1. Question to find the real objection

Use your probing skills to discover the real objection. You’ll define it until it’s clear for you to know what you need to answer. Only once you have defined the real objection can you continue moving through the home-sales process.

If the customer does not give you the genuine reason behind the objection, you should decide if you are making effective use of your time. And don’t forget there are many reasons why a customer may not be forthcoming with the information.

  • There is a financial situation
  • They need to speak to a partner or family advisor
  • The home is great, but they’re not sure about the community
  • A bad sales experience at a competitor
  • Nowhere to place the home

This is where your home-sales skills can be used. It’s likely trust and relationship building that will get you to the next stage of the process.

  1. Gain agreement from the customer

Remember the saying, “Patience, grasshopper”? I often see sales people ready to jump straight in with an answer once they think they’ve defined the objection. It’s best to sometimes hold yourself back, take a breath, and consider a different action.

Before you move to answering the objection, you want to gain some agreement from the customer. This includes defining the objection and then making sure it’s the only one stopping them from moving forward.

Again, use your own words and phrases. The more agreement you gain at this point in the home-selling process, the easier it will be to move forward and eventually get to closing.    

  1. Present the answer to the sales objection

The key message here is, “Forget the features and focus on the benefits and what it means to them.”

All your home-selling strategies help you by having a thorough understanding of how to use those benefits and personalize them during the sales process. Most of these will present the answer that covers the objection. Keep your focus on what it is the customer needs, and then personalize EVERYTHING to meet those needs.

Answering objections does not always mean making concessions! These are overcome by giving additional information, changing the customer’s viewpoint, showing the benefits and personalizing them to your potential homeowner.

  1. Close or gain agreement to your answer

Don’t take it for granted that you have answered their objection.

Ask the customer. Gain their agreement that you have dealt with the objection they raised. If the objection was to the closing of the sale, then close now. Don’t wait.

They agreed earlier that there were no more objections to their purchase, or to moving forward, and that you understood and defined their objection. You can now close and move forward to the next stage.

You can see now why gaining agreement to the defined objection is such an important part of the selling process. If you hadn’t asked if there were any other objections, you could now be faced with even more objections to overcome.

Admit you can’t handle every objection. It’s rare that a customer walks in and immediately finds their dream home with no negatives. In most instances, that type of buyer is a “get me done,” and will purchase anything if you can get them financed.

This type of buyer knows this and might push you with objections just to make sure they are getting the best deal possible. Remember, many people start out viewing you as possibly less than ethical, or “a bit sharp.”

On the other hand, some customers will make unrealistic demands either deliberately or because they are not as informed as you are. Take all this in stride and answer concerns in an appropriate way.

Build the value of the home, stay with the process to overcome objections, and point out the positives to outweigh objections you can’t answer.

Overcome objections to help customers
Helping to overcome objections is more than a sale technique, it’s a matter of solving problems for your clients.

Objections are a Vital Part of a Home Sale

“An objection is not a rejection. It is simply a request for more information.”

-Bo Bennett

Customers bring with them reasons to do business with you and several more reasons not to do business with you. Those housing consultants who are highly skilled address both. By the end of the interaction with the customer, they will have convinced that potential homeowner to do business with them.

The key here is to address objections in the beginning of the interaction.

When speaking with the customer, always highlight the most common objections and why those are not actually problems. Then, watch their body language during this process. They may change their posture, facial expression or breathing.

These are good indicators that you have hit on something they are feeling.

Of course, it is not possible to guess everyone’s objections. So, throughout the sales process constantly check in with them and get a sense of what they’re thinking. They will very often tell you upfront what their sticking points are, which makes your life much easier.

When it comes time to close, don’t be afraid to ask if they have any concerns. Watch their body language. If they appear more closed off, they probably have not followed you through the whole process. This is not a problem.

At that point, simply go back and elicit whatever their objections are and move the customer beyond them. This will make the sales process much easier, because you have built a good rapport with them.

Recognize Resistance to Change

Some prospects have a natural resistance to change. They follow the “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” philosophy, which makes it difficult to decide. Some just can’t pull the trigger, and are unwilling to risk that housing change.

When these potential homeowners raise objections, listen carefully and ask for clarification. By asking them to go into more detail about the objection, you’ll be in a better position to overcome it. Most housing consultants simply give up at that point. They fail to understand the customer is truly looking for a good reason to make that housing change!

Remember, no decision IS a decision!