May 09 2022
The ART of handling objections
By Zinc Goh Zhi Yin
Mindset is key to handling objections. To me, objections signify a gap between our presentation and the prospect’s buying decision. Like playing a game of tennis, I imagine the client to be my doubles partner standing on the same side of the court as me rather than an opponent standing on the opposite side of the court. We need to stand with our partner to listen and see the objection from their point of view.
I see objections as one of two things: a request for more information or a request for reassurance. In short, it's another way of the prospect telling us, "Help me justify why I should go ahead with your recommendation." With this in mind, we will then respond and not react. Remember, you can't change your prospect’s mind, but you can help them make a new decision based on the new information you provide.
Always respond to a question with a question instead of answering the objection. Use the ART technique: acknowledge, relate and turnaround.
Let's use this objection as an example:
Prospect: "I would like to compare what you’re offering with products from other companies."
The advisor can now begin the ART process.
Acknowledge the concern. "Mr. Prospect, I can understand why you would like to make a comparison. Who wouldn't want the best deal, right?"
Relate. "This was the initial response of most of my clients too. They compared and did extensive research with many similar products in the market."
Turnaround. "However, after all the comparisons, most of them eventually chose my company and my services. What do you think the reasons could be?" And whatever the prospect answers, agree with him and expand on it.
For more ambiguous objections, first identify the true concern, or what’s below the waterline of the iceberg. For example, if the objection is "I need to think about it," then clarify with the prospect. Ask, "May I know what specifically you need to think about?" before you attempt to address the concern.
I would like to share with you this case of a high-net-worth husband and wife I worked with. When I first proposed wealth protection and wealth accumulation for their two young children, they said, "We are already leaving behind too much money for our children. We don't need any more plans for that."
To identify the hot buttons, I asked a series of questions:
Advisor: "What will you be happier doing with the money, Mr. Prospect?"
Prospect: "Spending it on shopping."
Advisor: "How long do you think you'll be shopping for?"
Prospect: "As long as possible."
Advisor: "What makes your shopping sprees sweeter?"
Prospect: "A sale."
Advisor: "How do one-for-one deals sound to you?"
Prospect: "Great, of course."
Advisor: "Well, shall we look for some investments that can potentially generate more one-for-one deals for you in the future?"
Prospect: "OK. Tell me more."
This eventually led to an application of a 10-year investment plan to take care of their shopping needs when they retire in 10 years. So, the crucial part is to identify the hot buttons before you proceed with the recommendations.
Most genuine objections, if handled well, bring us closer to the sale. Practice makes permanent. Our prospects are not trained to give objections, but you can be trained to answer objections well. Remember, objections should work for you, not against you.
Zinc Goh Zhi Yin, of Singapore, is a four-year MDRT member.