This post is shared on LinkedIn and Medium.
In my LinkedIn feed this morning, I saw that a connection of mine had responded to a question of a different connection. After reading the original query, I couldn’t help but respond because I knew the answer! In the apartment sales industry, we usually provide a presentation of the community to a prospective customer and if we have done the job correctly, we get the sale. Sometimes, however, we get a few bumps in the road in the form of objections.
The Original Question:
So I had a prospect take a tour today of one of our furnished one-bed units. The prospect stated that the furniture looked like it was “from a garage sale” What are some tips on things I could say to sell the furniture even though the prospect may not like it? Getting them to pay more for furniture they don’t like is very difficult!
In the responses that were already posted, I saw a few decent attempts to suggest that the original poster “overcome” the objection. This has been the standard practice of sales teams the world over, but I have always thought differently on the subject. In many cases, the salesperson turns the objection into a battle of wits and attempts to win the prospect over by correcting them or invalidating the objection. “That closet isn’t small– look, I can do Zumba inside it!” What they are missing, however, is that the objection is not what it looks like and their response is almost always combative and offensive to the prospective customer– because the salesperson misread the underlying intention!
My response to the original poster is as follows, save for a few grammatical corrections. If you agree or have other feedback, I would love to hear it– please comment below!
You have a few suggestions here, but I think they are addressing objections in the traditional sense and never really address the underlying issue. When people give an objection, it sounds upfront like they are saying “I don’t like this; change it, fix it, remove it, build it– whatever you have to do, but make it perfect for me.” WRONG!!! When someone gives an objection like this, they are really saying “I don’t see enough value in what you are providing me.” The real issue is that your prospect doesn’t feel as though the price they are perceiving in their mind is worth what you have shown them.
The Value Problem
If you were to find the perfect new car to buy– it’s luxurious, it’s the perfect color, it’s pretty much everything you want and it’s $5,000 less than you wanted to pay… but you found out that it had some stains in the carpeting or the power mirrors don’t work. WHATEVER, that’s still a great deal right? You’re probably not going to even say anything about the minor imperfections and you will be driving this bad boy home tonight. Why? Because its VALUE (despite minor issues) is GREATER than its PRICE.
Conversely, if you were to find the perfect new car to buy– it’s luxurious, it’s the perfect color, it’s pretty much everything you want, but it’s $5,000 MORE than you wanted to pay– well, now we’re probably going to point out all the imperfections, right? Those stains in the carpeting need to be cleaned. Those mirrors better work. What’s that? Now that you look closer, there are some scratches, there are dings and dents, the paint is faded on the trunk. It’s going to take a LOT to get you to drive this home because the PRICE is now GREATER than the VALUE!
What your prospect is telling you is that they don’t see the VALUE as GREATER than the PRICE… for them, it’s the other way around. And now, no matter how petty it may seem to you or anyone else, they are pointing out the stains in the carpeting and the broken mirrors. If the PRICE is too much over the VALUE, they are going to find a lot more to pick out and complain about.
A Formula for Success
When the PRICE exceeds the VALUE, everything needs to be pristine and perfect and they need warranties and bonuses and perks and concessions to make the purchase. That’s just not possible for every situation.
When the VALUE exceeds the PRICE, you better believe they are going to shut up and buy right now. They won’t let this *DEAL* pass them by. The best part is that you can control this situation with how you structure the presentation.
The Hidden Challenge
My suggestion is that you need to start looking at this differently. Stop trying to attend to the objections themselves. They aren’t the issue– objections are a symptom of the underlying issue that your prospective customer hasn’t been shown the full VALUE. Once you have arrived at the point where your prospect is objecting to things, you have already partially failed and it is much harder to get back to the “easy” sale.
Instead of waiting for objections, try to start with gathering information about what the prospect knows about your community and then focus on gathering the information on EVERYTHING that is important to them. Focus on their DREAMS, their ASPIRATIONS, their PERFECT LIFE… everything they want, everything that is important, everything that is a MUST HAVE. And equipped with that information, you can now start focusing every part of your tour and presentation on their DREAM LIFE. Paint every corner of your community as the next step in their journey to that PERFECT LIFE. Draw the lines between what you have and what they want.
Hold off on talking about price until later– if you can redirect the prospect off of a price discussion until as late as possible, you have time to build this DREAM LIFE for them. (What about people who are price-limited? Guess what– with the internet, there’s a 97% chance they know your price anyway! Just assume they know and confirm to them that there’s so much value that will fit in their budget!) You have the opportunity for the prospect to continuously focus on VALUE… and not just any VALUE, but rather VALUE that fits their individual wants and needs. All they can see throughout your entire presentation is how the VALUE is so high.
When you finally drop the true price on them for their new home– “What? That’s it?!?! I get all this– everything you said that is perfect for me and it’s only going to cost how much?“
This is how I have prepared my presentations for over a decade and I hardly have any objections where the customer is being nit-picky. Every objection I have gets handled early on in the information gathering stage because I asked the right questions. Later, we only talk about their DREAM LIFE and the gobs and gobs of VALUE and everything that is important to the customer that I have. Start thinking of objections in this manner and be prepared to enjoy a higher closing rate!
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