When I first entered new home sales in 1992, I had a natural passion for this great profession. I had just come off of three years of working for a framing contractor my summers between college. My customer presentations were filled with all the wonderful possibilities of owning a brand new home. Everything came very naturally to me until I heard a dreaded objection! It took me years to learn the valuable lesson I will share with you today.
“If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.”
-Businessman Frank A. Clark
Most salespeople cringe when a customer brings up an objection. When we are brand new we immediately think, “Well, they must not like me.” As we mature into seasoned professionals we change our thinking into, “It’s their loss if they don’t buy from my builder.” Objections to most salespeople just get in the way of the sales process and our dream customer completely understands the value of our product and never objects! Well everyone, dip your head into that bucket of ice cold water and wake up to reality!
What is an objection?
In order to understand how to work with objections, we must first define just what an objection is. An objection is nothing more than a customer asking for more information. Think about the last customer you sold that didn’t have any objections? The truth is any prospect you are working with that doesn’t have any objections will remain just that, a prospect. We need to hear objections in order to sell homes.
When a customer objects to your presentation, it normally will fall into the following categories:
1. The presentation is going too fast for them. Oftentimes when customers throw objections at you, especially minor objections, they are just saying, “Please slow down I do not understand everything.”
2. A need for rationalization. Owning a home is the largest purchase most of us ever make in our lives. Remember, the decision to buy is an emotional one that must be logically justified. Many objections are cries for help that your customer needs justification to make this purchase.
3. What have they got to lose? Certain personality types will throw objections at us just to see what they can get. Price objections are the most common in this category.
The secret to understanding objections is this: A customer’s objections help us define the customer’s hot buttons in order to close the sale. Most salespeople “feature dump” their presentations and hope one of these features will answer the objection. This type of selling will cost you more sales than the few you will make. By carefully questioning and listening for objections the customer will tell us what they need to know in order to own our product. Adjust your presentation so you can answer the customer’s objections and the sales will happen.
I remember one of the first objections I minimized once I understood this concept. A customer wanted to have a “friend” do all the HVAC work in their new home. My builder at the time had just instituted a policy banning this very practice due to all sorts of production and liability issues. Prior to me understanding they were just looking for more information, I would have felt a
cringe and thought to myself, “Maybe we won’t be able to build for them.” Since I did understand this was a primary buying signal, I carefully listened to them, broke down the objection and found what the real question was; they wanted to make sure they weren’t paying too much for their HVAC because their friend had talked to them about this. We addressed their concern and they felt much better and did become owners without installing their own HVAC.
“Help me help you!”
-Tom Cruise in the movie Jerry Maguire
This line was made famous in the movie Jerry Maguire but it also rings true with new home sales. Objections lead us to the true concerns and hot buttons of our customers. A true new home sales professional knows they are in the business of helping people make decisions. Objections allow us to find out what is really on the minds of our customers and we can lead them in the right direction. If our product(s) are right for them, we find out through answering objections. Objections lead us down the path that this particular buyer needs to go in order to decide if our product is right for them. If you don’t take the time to fully break down their objections, you will cost you and your builder many sales.
A final note
If you run into an objection you can’t overcome, this a called a condition. Take time early in the process to uncover conditions. Too often salespeople do not perform proper needs analysis and spend hours working with customers
only to later uncover a condition they can’t overcome. The two most common conditions are
1) No money or not enough money and
2) No credit.
If at anytime you do not make a sale when no conditions are present, you have not done your job as a salesperson. Go back and review your presentation, your scripts and look at what you can adjust for the next customer.