The sale begins when the customer says no.

The best sales professionals love conflict because they know that when people are interested in a product, they’ll ask questions. If those prospects don’t, they’re politely smiling and nodding, but planning to walk out your door and cross this option off their lists. Skeptics who reveal their concerns give sales professionals an opportunity to address objections and lead them to feel confident about moving forward with the purchase. Embrace objections as your chance to be the guru for your customers.

An objection is any reason a customer is concerned to move forward with the purchase. Hearing these reasons may make salespeople uncomfortable, but the alternative is never getting a chance to address them and having to guess your way through the whole conversation. Once you’re convinced that shared objections are good, you’ll be able to dig deep to uncover the objections under the objections. This is serious business! You can’t just address the concern you hear, but the concerns you don’t hear right away. What a prospect says is bothering them may not always be the real concern. Your challenge, then, is to seek out the true reason for each objection you hear.

As a professional, it’s your job to understand the real objection behind the spoken objection—rather than just responding to the stated concern. This assures you maintain credibility with the prospects and earn their trust to continue with them on their home-buying journey.

Picture the following scenario: You’re talking to a customer. They’re engaged in the discussion, you’re in the rhythm, and you’re feeling confident. Then they jump in and say they’re not sure about the builder. They were fine five minutes ago, you think, so you launch into all the reasons why your builder is so perfect. You make a foolproof case, but then they utter the dreaded six words, “We need to think about it.”

Why? Because you handled the wrong objection. You thought they did not like the overall builder; that is, after all, what they seemed to be saying. However, if you had taken the time to dig a little deeper, you would have discovered that they do like the builder, but are concerned that the particular model you showed them may not have great resale value. You did not seek the true concern, so you missed your opportunity to address it. Think back to the last time you addressed the spoken objection before seeking the true problem. Were you afraid of the customer’s concern? Did you think you understood the objection, only to find out later that you didn’t? Conversely, can you think of a time when you asked clarifying questions and discovered that the objections weren’t as hard to address as you originally thought?

Whenever your prospects hesitate about your builder, floor plan, or features, dig deeper and ask clarifying questions that help you uncover the real objection—before you start defending your position. Seek the truth by using clarifying questions, such as, “Why are you concerned about _________?” and “What is it about the builder (location, size, etc.) that bothers you?”

The best way to ensure that you have successfully identified the concern is to restate what you heard back to the customer. Whether you are right or wrong, the customer will tell you.

The good news is that your prospects want you to know what they’re looking for. So do them a favor, and ask questions that help them communicate what they already want you to know. Embrace objections as your best chance to lead prospects to a solution, and let the sale begin. Get comfortable hearing “no” and you’ll be much more likely to hear “yes.”