As a service provider, you are as impactful as your ability to influence.
Objections, often viewed as negative, actually provide valuable insight to resolve issues delaying a decision and action.
The ability to help someone overcome an objection, is a powerful skill. It allows you to start to influence outcomes such as converting a prospect to client and to get a client to take (or not take) a step such as getting a will, or to not sell when the markets get scary.
Luckily, overcoming objections is a skill anyone can develop.
Every decision requires a weighing of options, benefits and costs (or risks). We act with ease when the benefits outweigh the costs or when the risks are low.
An objection happens when:
- The perceived cost (or risks) outweigh the benefit
- It’s not easy to quantify the benefits
- The benefits occur too far in the future so we lack the motivation to take action today
- We are uncomfortable with the next step
An objection is something that needs to be resolved before further action can be taken.
A key relationship to remember is that the opposite of objection is acceptance. Your goal is to help the other person get to a place of acceptance on their own terms by leading them to that conclusion. Leading versus forcing or driving is the most productive way to gain acceptance. Acceptance precedes progress.
The amount and size of the objection is typically correlated to the (real or perceived) risk. The greater the risk the harder it is to overcome. There are real and perceived objections. Real objections you may never be able to overcome. However, many common objections are perceived (or false) and can be overcome.
Get in front of common objections to maintain forward momentum
The common objections are:
- Need more information
- Not the right or enough time
- Fear of or not ready for change
Much of the buyer’s decision making (up to 50-80%) happens before they talk to you. You can start to address many common objections on your website, which is where they will like go to start their buying decision making process. Clear and consistent messaging about who you are, what you do and the benefits to clients helps with the “I need more information” objection. Being clear about your process and deliverables as part of your client service model can help address the “timing” and “fear of change” objections. Publishing pricing can eliminate the “pricing” objection.
Another idea if you aren’t comfortable posting this information on your website is to provide it proactively as part of an initial meeting in the form of frequency asked questions or questions to consider when looking for a financial advisor.
When someone is considering you as their financial advisor they will have questions and concerns. What’s the approach to overcoming an objection?
The 5-steps to overcome objections:
- Uncover objection(s)
- Use an open-ended question(s) to lead them to a need
- Ask for permission to provide advice (solution to need)
- Agree to a next step
Let’s use the timing and change objections in an example:
Prospect (after an initial meeting): “Now’s not a great time to make a change but can you check in with me in a few months?”
Advisor: “It sounds like you’re busy and this is an important decision. I’m happy to check in with you in a few months. Can I ask you a question to make sure I’m providing what you need to support this decision?”
Advisor: “Over the next year, what are your top priorities when it comes to your financial situation?”
(If they’ve already identified specific areas where they need help you can ask about one of those areas, “You mentioned that you feel like you’re not well positioned to manage risk in your portfolio. If the markets are volatile over the next three months, how are you positioned to protect your portfolio?”)
Prospect: “I want to feel good about how I’m positioned to manage risk with all of the uncertainty in the markets and in the world. I also want to make sure I’m saving enough for my kids education. I’m probably missing a bunch of things that I don’t even realize.”
Advisor: “That’s helpful. A lot can happen in three months, especially in today’s markets. To evaluate how you’re portfolio is positioned to help identify if you’re missing anything can I make a recommendation?
Advisor: I’d recommend we take a look at your most recent statements with holdings to evaluate how you’re positioned if the market has a pullback. Is that something you’d be interested in?”
Prospect: “That’d be great.”
Advisor: “Great, this will be helpful information for you and me.”
As this example shows, you may not be able to overcome the objection right there but this approach of understanding via questioning, acknowledging and providing advice with permission is a helpful way to stay engaged and quarterback the process in a way that supports gaining acceptance around a decision.
In this example, seeing the portfolio holdings empowers a deeper level of understanding, which enables the advisor to provide relevant value. When the benefits outweigh the costs (price, time, change, fears) a decision becomes obvious.
Open-ended questions, questions that can not be answered with a “yes” or “no” are a powerful way to get someone to realize a need, to create urgency and reframe a situation.
Remember, objections are useful information. When you know someone’s concerns you can figure out how to help them navigate through to a resolution.