By Nicole Harrington
As a real estate agent it is inevitable that you will come across objections daily. How you deal with those objections will make all the difference in your career - they will either hold you back or propel you forward. In order to make the latter a reality, it's critical to develop a deeper understanding of the objection and get to the root of the problem.
Before we get into the specifics for commonly heard objections, let's review the steps you can take regardless of the opposition:
STEPS FOR HANDLING OBJECTIONS
- Validate - You always want to validate the other person's feelings. Handling an objection does not mean you are telling the other person they are wrong; it is acknowledging how they feel and empathizing with their concerns.
- Take the Pressure Off - After you validate the concern of the other party, take the pressure off of the situation. Let them know that whatever they choose, you are here to support them.
- Inform - The other party will become more receptive to what you have to say once you have taken the pressure off the situation. Inform them of what makes you different, your value proposition, and how you can help them.
- Call to Action - You always want to end by asking a question and creating a call to action for the other person to respond to. You want to ensure you addressed exactly what their concerns are and that they are comfortable moving forward in the process with you.
In this article we will highlight common objections and review tactics to help you delve deeper into the protestations you are experiencing. By developing an innate awareness towards your client's experience you will be able to increase conversion rates and in turn get that much closer to your goals.
LEAD CONVERSION OBJECTIONS
"I'm Not Ready to Work with an Agent"
At first glance this may seem like a straightforward response when you ask a lead to come in for a consultation. However, you know your number one goal for every lead interaction is to get an in person appointment - so what do you do? Let's start by looking at an example:
Sam is a buyer lead you received from your office. When you call to book an appointment he rejects it by saying he is not ready to work with an agent. He may have internal views that agents are pushy or that they are just in it for the quick sale. Why? Sam may have had a bad experience in the past or has heard horror stories from his circle of influence.
When handling objections from a lead it's important to validate their feelings - you don't know why they are responding the way they are and you don't want to put them on the defensive by dismissing their sentiment. So what could you say?
AGENT: I appreciate you not wanting to work with an agent yet. Sam - I always encourage my clients to explore all of their options before committing to one person. I understand you need to find someone who is the best fit for you. Why don't you come in and I will go over what is involved in a home purchase. If you decide to work with another agent, not a problem. At the very least you will be more prepared for the home buying process. How does that sound?
By telling Sam you advise all clients to do their research before signing with an agent you are validating his concerns and taking the pressure off of the situation. Now you may be thinking "Why on earth would I tell a lead to go talk to other agents?!" Because by taking the pressure off of the situation you are more likely to get Sam to come in for an appointment. If you don't get Sam in for the appointment it will be that much harder to convert.
"Do You Offer Rebates?"
With the cost of home ownership on the rise everyone is looking to save a buck. The response to this is going to vary based on what kinds of services you provide - whether you are full service and offer elements such as staging in the cost of your commission, or if you work for a discount type brokerage. At the end of the day you want to keep as much of your commission as possible. So what do you do?
The best way to handle this situation is to find out why they are looking for a rebate. For example:
AGENT: "I can understand wanting to save money - buying a home can be very costly. I always want my clients to do what is best for them. Do you mind if I ask where you saw someone offering rebates?"
CLIENT: "Well I've seen that brokerage offer a rebate to every buyer and I know some friends who have had agents that reduced their commission.
AGENT: "Very interesting. I have a question for you - do you think you could get an even lower commission? If the goal is to save money, do you think you could get someone who would offer you a even bigger rebate, maybe 50 or 75 percent of their commission? I have a feeling you could probably find something like that if you posted an ad on a site like Craigslist."
CLIENT: "Oh, well I don't think the agent would be very experienced or qualified. I wouldn't want to work with them."
AGENT: "Interesting, so you believe that there is a correlation between what commission an agent is willing to accept and the caliber of that agent?"
CLIENT: "Well, yes I guess."
AGENT: "This is why I don't offer rebates …. (Then you would go into your value proposition, what makes you different, what kind of experience you have, what you offer over the competition)…. How does that sound?"
By making the lead realize that there is a correlation between the amount of commission charged and the agents skill level, you will have a greater chance of converting.
Sometimes your buyers will be unsure if the house you showed them is the right one for them, even though they loved it and already started mentally moving in. This is likely because they are scared that something better will come on the market. Although you don't want to push someone into something they're not comfortable with, it's your job to consult them on their purchase. You have a better understanding of the market than they do and even though you may know that this house checks the right boxes, they may still be unsure. So what do you do?
CLIENT: "I love the house, I really do. I'm just nervous something better is going to be placed on the market and I'm going to be kicking myself for not waiting."
AGENT: "I completely understand your concern - there is a lot of uncertainty with a decision like this and picking your forever home is a big step to take. In terms of this house, would you say that is checks most of the boxes?"
CLIENT: "Well yes. It's in a perfect location, it has three bedrooms which we needed, and a two car garage. My only concern is that the basement isn't finished and that's something we really would have liked."
AGENT: "Yes, that makes sense. How would you feel about taking a look at what else has sold on the market in your price range over the last 6 months to see if you find something else you think would have been better?"
At this point, you would go through sold listings with your client ans show them exactly what sold within their price range. Ask them to point out the pros and cons of each.
AGENT: "So, based on what you've seen, how do you feel about the house now?"
CLIENT: "It actually seems like this one is pretty much perfect. The basement was important to me but not a deal breaker, and I think it might even be fun to finish it ourselves so we can design it the way we want."
AGENT: "Would you be comfortable putting an offer in or would you prefer to wait?"
CLIENT: "I didn't see anything else that came close to how much I like this one. Let's go ahead with the offer."
By showing your client what the other options would have been, they will feel more comfortable with their purchase. This is not about pushing your client into a house but rather educating them on the market.
While handling objections it's important to remember buying or selling a home is your job, your clients may only do this once or twice in their lives. Always remember to be empathetic: put yourself in their shoes and never invalidate their concerns. If you stay empathetic and practice overcoming objections, you will be able to better understand your clients needs and in turn benefit from their concerns.
Nicole Harrington is the Founder of SheSellsToronto.com and a real estate agent with a keen eye for trends and analytics. She's a former corporate operative with a B.Comm in business and a background in category management. She has also worked for some of Canada's largest brands in their marketing departments. When she's not helping clients she can be found writing for her blog or hanging out with her two dogs. www.shesellstoronto.com