This Month’s Selling Principle:
The Three Types of Objections
Did you know that the average retail car customer has to object or say “No” somewhere between four to seven times before psychologically they’re even in a position to say “Yes”? Also, did you know that there really are only three basic types of objections? It’s true. And did you also know that each of them need to be handled differently than the others. Let’s take a closer look.
In order to effectively overcome objections, we must first, understand what objections truly are.
The most prevalent type of objection is the reflexive or smokescreen. These usually come out on the lot, not always of course, but the vast majority of the time these are blurted out before we are able to build rapport with our client. These are simply knee jerk reactions or merely things customers have been conditioned to say to salespeople. Things like, “I’m just looking.” or “How much discount can I get?” or “What’s your best price on this one?” (when they haven’t even landed on a specific unit yet) or “I don’t have a lot of time.” Or “I don’t want you to waste your time because I’m not going to buy anything today.”etc.
Experience has taught us that, most of the time, these are simply illusions, and not really true. Sometimes they’re even sincere attempts to just throw us off. Remember most customers have been mistreated somewhere else (haven’t we too?) and they think they have to protect themselves from us.
Some smokescreens can even be out and out lies, like, “I need to talk with my wife first.” Or “I can’t do anything until _________ happens.” Or “You don’t have the color I want.”We have to remember that these are not malicious lies, but rather defensive lies. We can’t take them personal, and we have got to understand them. It is important, particularly at the beginning of our career, but even all the time thereafter, to realize the distinction between personal rejection and conceptual rejection. It is also very important to insulate ourselves against both.
The second type of objections we get are called stalls. These usually occur after the commitment, not always of course, but the vast majority of the time these are blurted out after we have written up our customer. These don’t necessarily mean, “No,” they just mean “Not yet.” and many times they are nothing more than a request for more information. Poor needs determination or just plain short cutting will create the need for our customer to call a time out in the form of a stall tactic. Here are a few of the most common ones; “I don’t have enough time.” Or “The payments are still a little too high.” Or “I need to think/sleep/pray about it.” Or “I guess it’s just not meant to be.” Or “I need to talk with my wife first.” Or “This is the first place we’ve shopped.”Etc.
Some stalls sound like smokescreens, and many salespeople, who have already done a good job upfront of building value and rapport, make the mistake of handling stalls like they would handle a smokescreen. Many salespeople, after hearing a stall objection, make the mistake of going back into the “selling mode” trying to build value or they try to convince their customer that their car is worth every penny of that $XXX a month, when in fact all their customer really needs is to be helped to feel comfortableabout paying that dollar amount. Furthermore, some customers are perfectly willing to pay $XXX a month, but they just want to test the salesperson to see if there’s a “little more room left”. By falling back into the “selling mode” or by offering to go back and try to get some more, we unwittingly tell the customer they were probably right.
It’s the same concept as talking past the close. Any competent salesperson knows that once the client has said “Yes” you don’t keep trying to close the sale. Why? Because it telegraphs to the client that the salesperson themselves aren’t convinced it’s a good idea to go ahead with the purchase. When dealing with a stall type of objection (usually near the end of the negotiations) it’s almost always better to deal with our customer’s emotional state than with the good logic of the purchase.
The third and least prevalent type of objection we sometimes get are actual conditions of sale. These sound like; “I’m only sixteen years old, I think I need my dad.” Or “I hate everything you’ve shown me.” Or “I really do need my wife.” Or “I’ve got some credit challenges, I can’t even buy a Schwinn with cash.”Etc. If these conditions can’t be met, if these objections can not be overcome, then the sale does not happen. If these objections are overcome, then it affords us a closing opportunity.
Above all else, it’s imperative that we understand that all objections are a necessary part of the buying process.Objections are our friends. In fact, the only thing stupider than not being prepared for objections is hoping we don’t get any.
Like I mentioned at the outset, depending on which source you are quoting, the average customer will object or tell us “No” between four to seven times. Which means we, as salespeople, have to ask the average customer how many times? Yep, that’s right, we have to ask five to eight different times for their business before they’re even in a position to look us in the eye, tell us “No”, and actually mean it!
The problem with the car business is that the average customer has to go to three or four places before they are ever collectively asked five to eight times for their business. That’s because the average new sales person fears rejection and sometimes doesn’t ask at all and the average experienced salesperson knows only two closes, which means they don’t ask enough. Even worse, a few do ask seven or eight times but use the same close over and over and over again. No wonder most customers think car salespeople are pushy.
Now, as I mentioned before, experience has taught me that nothing works all the time and no one thing will work for everybody. That’s why it’s important to have seven or eight fall back positions or different ways to handle each of the most common objections or situations we encounter.
I can hear some of you now, “But Michael, that would mean I’d have to memorize dozens and dozens, heck…maybe even over 100 different word tracks!” My reply is, “Yeah, and what’s your point?” Either we are committed to being one of the top in our field, or we’re not. Either we are prepared for the game or we’re not. Period. Being the top in any field requires lots of preparation and work. If we’re not willing to do that, then we can’t complain about what we get in return for our efforts. For those of us willing to put forth the kind of effort required to be the best, complaining won’t be necessary. It’s our choice.
Sadaharu Oh, the Japanese home run hitting king, and arguably the greatest hitter to ever live, used to consider the opposing pitcher his ally. Mr. Oh believed that, even though the pitcher’s intent was to make him miss, each time the man on the mound would throw him a pitch, he would give him another chance to hit one out. No pitches, no home runs. And it’s the same with us in the selling game. No objections, means no sale.We all would be more effective if we could develop this kind of empowering attitude, wouldn’t we?
So, until next time, be well, and do good work!
Michael D. Hargrove
“Unless you have prepared yourself to profit by your chance, the opportunity will only make you ridiculous. A great occasion is valuable to you just in proportion as you have educated yourself to make use of it.”
Orison Swett Marden
Objection of the Month: “This is the first place we’ve shopped.”
These are just a few of the most common strategies shared at the workshops we’ve conducted all across North America and attended by thousands of the top sales people in our field. Please keep in mind that nothing works all the time, and no one thing will work for everybody. Each of these strategies, of course, need to be tailored to the individual user, to the specific customer, and the particular situation. Also, this is by no means the definitive work on overcoming this particular objection and it’s not intended to be.
a. “Well, let’s see if we can’t make it the last place too!”
b. “Why did you pick this place first?” then, “Why else?” and again, “Any other reasons you chose us first?” Then finally, “Those all sound good reasons to do business with someone, don’t they?”
c. “Isn’t funny how our first instincts are usually the best?”
d. “All new cars are a heck of a lot of money, aren’t they? Too much money for anyone to settle for their second choice, don’t you agree? Well, let’s make sure you won’t have to “
e. “Thank you very much for giving US the first shot at earning your business!”
f. “You’ve found the right car, in the right color, with all the right equipment and at the premiere dealership in the city. All that and we got it to fit within your budget too! Are you always this lucky? Let’s put this shopping chore behind you so you can start to enjoy your new car!”
g. “This car is very expensive, isn’t it? Actually, all new cars are lots of money, aren’t they? You know Mr. Customer, they’re too much money for you to have to settle for your second choice, wouldn’t you agree? Well, this must be your first choice since you shopped here first. So, let’s put this thing to rest shall we?”
h. “So, for all practical purposes, this car fits you perfectly, right? You just need to look around to satisfy your curiosity. Mr. Customer, it sounds like you’re simply having trouble accepting the fact that you fell in love on the first date, am I right? Love at first sight DOES happen and usually it turns out to be a great romance. This one will be too. Now, press hard, you’re going through four copies!”
i. “Whether it’s the first or last place you shop, your decision comes down to three basic questions, may I share them with you? (Wait for their answer) “Number one, does this vehicle give you what you want?” (Wait for their answer) “Number two, can you afford it?” (Wait for their answer) “Number three, am I the kind of person you want to help you with this decision and to support you through the entire ownership experience?” (Wait for their answer) “Since you’ve answered yes to all three, I just need your okay right here.”
Next month’s objection will be: “I need to shop other cars first.” We need YOUR input! Please forward your ideas on this one, or your suggestions on which objection to cover next, to email@example.com.
“I only play well when I’m prepared. If I don’t practice the way I should, then I won’t play the way I know I can.”
Carrot, Egg, and Coffee…
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see. “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.
Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.
The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?” Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity — boiling water. Each reacted differently.
The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.
The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became
The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?”
Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial
hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.
When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.
The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.
May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.
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Retail Automotive Sales: The Professional’s One Day Workshop
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Tacoma, WA 98421
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