Any sales professional must be able to overcome legitimate objections put forth by the prospect in front of them. It is one of the key factors necessary to keep the sales process moving toward a successful outcome. In commercial real estate, there are a few objections that we will hear repeatedly from prospects. Objections to entering into an exclusive representation agreement, objections to fee, objections to price and a few others are fairly typical in our industry. We will cover methods for overcoming many of these objections at another time, but the purpose of this post is to talk about how we handle the objection when it is raised by the prospect. How we handle objections, in the moment when they are presented to us, could be the difference between winning the business and losing the business.
First, we have to look at the timing of the objection. Perhaps you’ve made a cold call and the prospect is objecting to meeting with you because he is too busy. Is the prospect really too busy to meet with you or is this his way of telling you that whatever you’ve said up to that point has not offered enough value for him to give you some morsel of his time in return? Probably the latter of course so think about how you can then make the prospect feel that meeting with you would be a valuable use of his precious time. Express empathy for how busy the prospect is and that you respect his time, but at the same time deliver a value proposition that compels the prospect to WANT to meet with you. Then make it easy for the prospect to accept a meeting. Offer to meet before or after business hours. I had a prospect tell me that he was headed out of town early the next morning and I offered to buy him coffee at the Starbucks in the airport terminal (which he accepted).
In many cases, objections that the prospect may raise early in the process of developing the business relationship can be “set aside” to be dealt with later (after you have demonstrated more value) or they may never come up again. Objections related to fee are a perfect example of this. If you have not had ample opportunity to showcase the value of your services to the prospect when the issue of fee comes up, any discussion of fee will not properly correlate to the benefit being derived by the prospect for hiring you. Simply setting such an objection aside by telling the prospect that once he has a clear picture of the value he will enjoy by utilizing you for the assignment, then you will be happy to discuss the fee. I used to tell an anxious prospect who wanted to discuss fee early on that I had never lost an assignment over fee, which is the truth. If the prospect persists, get creative by using an analogy such as this.
“Mr. Prospect, if I said to you that I wanted you to buy my car and that the price is $20,000 how would you know if it was a good value for the car or not? I haven’t told you the make, model, year, mileage, etc., only the fee for owning it.” Does that make sense?
Handling objections does require practice and the ability to think on your feet sometimes. Just always remember that objections usually arise because the prospect either needs more information or more trust needs to be established before the sales process can move forward.