A Realtor friend of mine called me to bounce some ideas off me. Her buyer was balking at putting in an offer. The property had 90% of everything he wanted in a home, but that last 10% was bugging him. There was a deck that cantilevered over a canyon, but no yard. She wasn’t sure what to say to him to get him to act. In her circumstances what would you do? Here are a few things she was considering:
- Tell him the market is changing and this is the best opportunity to get a great property like this at a low price.
- Hint that the seller is willing to help a little more on the repairs.
- Explain that he still has 17 days to think about it before contingency removal.
- Point out that there’s another offer coming in (which was true).
- Remind him about the 90% he liked the property, and make a few suggestions about remedying the remaining 10%.
- A mixture of all of the above.
After she went through this list with me, I asked her what solutions he had for the lack of yard.
- “What do you mean?” she asked me.
- “Did you ask him what he was going to do about there not being a yard?”
- “No,” she said.
- “Well, ask him. Say, ‘I know you’re concerned that there’s no yard. How will that affect your lifestyle if you buy this house?‘”
- She said, “I don’t want to ask him that. What if he decides not having a yard would really mess with his lifestyle?”
This is a common fear reaction that salespeople have when faced with a buying concern or an objection. We don’t want to talk about it, just in case that makes them lean towards saying no. But really, people are not that shallow. If you encourage them to talk about the challenges, you’ll have a better opportunity to ask other questions that turn them towards the positive. For instance, suppose this buyer says that by not having a yard, he won’t be able to garden. Well, then ask him about gardening: “What kind of gardening do you like to do?” Eventually, if he doesn’t make the suggestion himself, ask him what kind of gardening he could do with containers. Maybe share a little information about container gardening (if you know anything).
Handling Objections Openhandedly
To handle objections by letting the prospect find his own solutions, you need to be able to do four things:
- Fully develop the problem and understand why it’s a problem.
- Know where you want the sales conversation to go so that you can guide it there.
- Have the skills involved in intelligent influence so that you can help him process his thoughts.
- Use your expertise to ask questions that help him think about his problem from new perspectives.
This Openhanded Selling approach will get you through most concerns without needing to have the perfect counter-argument at the tip of your tongue.