“How Do You Mean?” (And other crazy objection handlers)

“How Do You Mean?” (And other crazy objection handlers)

Every time I ask the question, “how do you mean?” People always stop, give me a sideways chuckle, and then proceed to explain themselves much further than I would have ever gotten if I asked the question, “Why?”  But wait, I am starting in the middle, and we all know the best place to start is at the beginning.

Despite appearances, I am not having a “blonde” moment. LOL!  I am trying to prove a point. As sales professionals, we often jump to middle, or worse jump to conclusions by making assumptions, especially when it comes to objections.

The first assumption that we make is that what we have just heard is an objection.  It might very well be, but it could also be a statement or observation.  We need more information.  Let’s say you are showing a home to a buyer who, in your discovery, described this home almost to a tee. Imagine you are demonstrating the home, and they are placing furniture, loving the color selections, etc., then you get to the back yard.  Perhaps you even have it in your mind, that others you have shown this home to have objected about the size of the backyard.  Then, you hear the words you were dreading, “this is a small backyard.”  Is this an objection or is it merely a statement masquerading as an objection?

You see, all too often, we hear statements like this and do one of two things—we immediately launch into our pre-determined objection handlers, or we ignore it altogether and hope it will go away because everything else we are presenting is so dazzling that surely the buyer will ignore this one thing. What if, instead, we slowed down and learned more information before we assume something? How might that create a different result?

Over the years, many different sales trainers have referred to the 6 Step Method for Overcoming Objections.

  1. Hear the objection—this refers not only to hearing it verbally but being in tune with your buyers well enough to also pick up on the non-verbal cues they may be sending you.
  2. Acknowledge or repeat the objection to the buyer. Let them know that what they are saying is important to you and that you did hear them.
  3. Question the objection, or at least question whether or not it really is an objection. At this moment it may just be a statement. We need to know more.  “How do you mean?” comes in very handy in these situations. We may not know enough to ask the right follow up question, but we do know that we need more information. Avoid asking, “why?” Mainly because you could potentially sound “judgey” or condescending without meaning to sound that way.
  4. If necessary, now that you have enough information, answer the objection with your pre-planned objection handler. For instance, “Mr. & Mrs. Buyer, I hear you saying that this yard is smaller than you envisioned it would be when we were looking at the map of the community. However, if I recall, you did tell me that you don’t like yard work but wanted a lovely space to entertain. Is that correct? (Always insert trial closes to make sure you are on the right path).  Let me show you how, if we expand the patio area, and put in an outdoor grilling space over here, and a pergola over here, there would even be a nice space for a firepit. Is that what you envisioned? Did I miss anything we discussed previously?
  5. If they answered in the affirmative, move forward by confirming that the objection does not block the sale by using a summary close, at least up to this point. This might go something like, “Oh good. I’m glad I understood your vision. Just to make sure I am showing you what you described, up to this point you wanted a home on a quiet cul-de-sac, with a 2-car garage, a large, open family/great room, and space for outdoor entertaining… Insert whatever you had already confirmed to this point so that you can reconfirm where you were before this particular conversation began. Use the points that were important to them and the words they described to you during your discovery with them.  “And, so far we are hitting all those points, right?”
  6. Close it. “Great, I’m glad this backyard works for the entertaining space we discussed. Shall we move on to the rest of the home?”

Now, some of these steps can combine on occasion.  For instance, another way to repeat the statement and question the objection together is simply to put the emphasis on the last word of the sentence and turn it into a question.  It sounds like this, “This yard is small?” Pause after asking a question, allow the buyer to think and formulate an answer. They may be mulling it over in their head and decide for themselves how it might work out. In which case, allow them to explain it to you.

What if the statement is only a statement and not an objection at all?  By questioning it with non-threatening language like turning the statement into a question or “How Do You Mean?” You give your buyers the chance to explain themselves further, and you can get to the why without sounding judgemental or put them on the spot.

Remember, your buyers came to you for assistance. You owe it to them to slow down, get off your agenda, and discover what is important to them so that you can help them to move forward.  Never forget the best, grammatically incorrect question in the world, “How Do You Mean?” You’ll be amazed at how much you learn when you use it!

Kimberly Mackey is the founder of New Homes Solutions, and has the reputation as someone with real-world SOLUTIONS in a competitive and rapidly changing sales environment–SOLUTIONS like “50 Sales per Year before Any Walk-in Traffic”. She is a keynote speaker and published author of many Sales and Leadership articles with 20 years of experience as an executive in the residential home building and real estate industry. She has a proven track record working with Builders and Developers of all sizes –from the local/regional companies to the publicly traded nationals. She also works with Brokers from across the country and is the architect and director of the highly successful Preferred Builder Partnership with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group where she works with 32 builders, 22 offices and over 650 agents.

For more information, or to book Kimberly for your next event, visit www.NewHomesSolutions.com, or visit Mackey at LinkedIn,www.linkedin.com/in/kimberlymackey; Twitter,www.twitter.com/KimberlyDMackey; and Facebook,www.facebook.com/NewHomesSolutions or on YouTube,  www.youtube.com/c/NewHomesSolutions

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