Every one of us has come face-to-face at some time or another with the stubborn reality of today’s consumers: skepticism. After decades of being misled and lied to by silver-tongued marketers, today’s consumers have their radar finely tuned to the scam or catch of every marketing pitch, and our industry is no exception.
As honest and hardworking as we are, we’ve all been faced with prospect objections which hijack our presentations both over-the-phone and face-to-face. Objections can catch the best of us off-guard, stumbling to address the issue raised in order to get the presentation back on track.
All too often, whether we are making follow-up calls using the Universal Call Back Script or doing a presentation to secure a new Buyer or Seller client, the prospect asks a simple question and we, as salespeople, duck and run: withdrawing like a turtle into its shell, hiding from the big fat “NO” we are expecting: the rejection to our offer. The biggest reasons agents do this is because either they do not understand what they’re selling, or they don’t understand the question itself.
If you do not understand what you are selling (i.e. “The Benefits Presentation” – how you are THE BEST solution to the prospect’s problems), you have some work to do. If you do not believe this yourself, you will project your beliefs upon your prospect, and believe me they can tell.
However, the biggest reason salespeople tend to withdraw is that they are so busy selling, they do not HEAR the questions asked of them and automatically take any question as an objection. If you are unsure what is being asked, or need time to collect your thoughts, simply restate the prospect’s question, asking them to elaborate. Something like, “So, if I understand you correctly, you said ……..”
Don’t kid yourselves here. You are in the business of persuasion. Our trade just happens to deal with houses and homes. Just as a plumber has the tools of his trade and he must learn to use them, you too have to learn to use the tools of your trade: persuasion. If you cower at the first question, or the second, or third, you will miss a ton of business. What you must do is to ASK MORE QUESTIONS! Then, listen carefully, determine exactly what the prospect’s problem is and offer a solution: YOUR SERVICES!
When you run into resistance, you must ASK MORE QUESTIONS to isolate the true objection … if there even is one. Often these are simple innocuous questions. Once you’ve done this, you must support the prospect’s position and ask for the business … CLOSE!
Why do you think the Universal Call Back Script is written the way it is? In this business, you need to work on the Law of Reciprocity. Since you have sent the information they requested, they are more willing to talk to you. Once the dialogue has started, you ASK QUESTIONS the prospect is NOT anticipating. This has the effect of lowering their ingrained defense systems because they must stop and think, reach inside themselves for the answer and, in so doing, reveal their true needs to you. By asking probing questions that they are not prepared for, prospects do not have the ability to fight you. Asking questions like, “Are you thinking of making a move in the next 3 to 6 months” or “If you were to make a move, when would that be?” are absolutely brilliant as the prospect has to lower their guard and “think”, rather than “defend” against a full frontal assault. Full frontal assaults are tactless and sound like attacks, or at least challenges. By using probing questions, getting around behind the prospect’s armor, you are able to determine what the prospect needs or wants. You can also uncover their dissatisfaction with their current Agent, give them permission to express their opinions, and encourage them to discuss their problems and needs without threat. Again, BRILLIANT, as you can then offer them a solution (The Buyer Profile or the FREE CMA offer), which is an automatic Listing Presentation!
Getting past the prospect’s armor makes you look smart, gets them to speak more freely, and gives you the information you require without threatening the prospect. If you fail to probe well for background information, you do not know how to make the proper offer, or launch the benefits presentation most effectively, since our presentations are, quite simply, all the solutions to their problems.
The only reason you make any follow up calls is to determine the prospect’s timing and motivation, and if they are ready to do something in the next three to six months, you MUST set an appointment with them. These probing questions always start with the words, who, what, where, when, why or how! If you do not ask these questions properly, you are simply playing fortune teller, hoping your offer is what the prospect is looking for.
I read the other day that if an archer misses the target, he does not blame the target; he reaches inside himself to see what he can do better next time, to have a better result. You must do the same thing. You know you have asked really good questions when the prospect has to stop and think a minute, as they are not prepared or equipped to defend against intelligent questions requesting their opinion. If you do not set an appointment with every prospect that is ready to make a move in the next 3 to 6 months, this tells you that they did not see the value in what you were offering. You must step back and find out how to improve your offer, or your delivery of it.
The disciplined use of the Universal Call Back script, the Buyer Presentation and the Seller’s Benefit presentation are carefully crafted to deliver the exact response you are seeking, provided you use these invaluable tools correctly. Listen more, talk less, and dig deeper to find people’s true motivation with questions to get behind their armor.
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