In this unpredictable market, one thing is certain: right now is a scary time to invest in a property. Interest rates are skyrocketing more than they have in years, to the point where most are predicting that even home prices, which have been deemed an ironclad investment for years, are set to start depreciating.
This is why it’s so important to understand the current mentality of the buyer - to empathize with their fears and get to the root of what is holding them back. Faced with all of these anxieties and uncertainties, the last thing a homebuyer needs is a pushy, stereotypic sales agent trying to “close them.”
Luckily, we have come up with ten tried and true objection-handling scripts that address some of the key hesitations in the real estate market we are facing today. Study these scripts, and you will become a real estate buyer objection handling pro in no time!
Firstly…What Is an Objection Handling Script?
An objection is a hesitation in the buyer’s mind that acts as a barrier between you and the sale. Objections exist in any sales profession, and it is up to the salesperson to help the client overcome them to make the purchase.
Real Estate Mogul and Coaching expert Phil Jones describes an objection as “a challenge to your control.” The wrong approach would be responding to an objection with another objection; he likens it to responding to “a punch with a punch. Now you’re in a fight.”
Instead of throwing punches back and forth, your objective is to lead the conversation. The best way to do this is by asking questions. When you respond to an objection with a question, you position yourself as an ally, establishing your control over the sales process.
Within the context of real estate, objection-handling scripts are common reactions to a client’s hesitation in regard to buying or selling a home. An objection-handling script is your roadmap to guiding the buyer toward the sale. The below scripts will help you craft an efficient and quick response to some of the most pertinent buyers’ hesitations facing the industry today. These will help ensure you seal the deal on-site, acting as a trusted advisor for any buyer you encounter down the road.
1. The Key Question You Should Always be Asking
“How long are you planning on living in this home?”
You always want to be the agent who thinks ten steps ahead, qualifying a buyer based on their intentions behind buying a home, as opposed to just their finances or budget. They may not even be specifically thinking about this question until you raise it, but once you do, they’ll know their answer.
You’re also helping them think more long-term by forcing them to see the long-term appreciation data of the home, despite the unpredictabilities of today’s market. Of course, if they are only looking to live in the house short term, you are then better equipped to find options that best suit their needs.
2. Pull the objections early on
This is a foolproof trio of questions that will help get the conversation going and give you a really good sense of the sorts of hesitations plaguing your buyer. Start by asking:
“What have you heard about the real estate market right now?”
You will probably hear something along the lines of:
- There is a housing crisis
- Now is the worst possible time to buy
- The real estate market is sinking
To which you can answer:
“Would you mind sharing your sources?”
It’s important to approach this question with genuine curiosity, not condescension. More often than not, they would’ve heard these things from hearsay, a flashy headline, or a source that simply does not consider all of the factors surrounding the real estate market.
And this brings us to question #3:
“Has anyone taken the time to show you the real data on our local market?”
The important part is, you’re phrasing this as a question. This way, you’re positioning yourself as a trusted advisor who can give them a service nobody has yet. Instead of coming off as aggressive and salesy, you’re establishing yourself as a consultant who genuinely wants to help.
This trifecta of questions helps you anticipate your buyer's mindset and potential objections, so you can get ahead of them early on in the sales process.
3. The Infamous “Other Agent.”
An all too common phenomenon: you’re getting to know your buyer when they pull the infamous “other agents are willing to take less” card. Or they casually drop that they “have an agent who said they would do the job for a much lower commission.”
The truth is, there is often no other agent. The prospect is either seeing if they can get you to be competitive with your commission or assuming they can always find a cheaper agent who can do the same job for less money.
The key here is to show your prospects that you’re not simply another expense but an opportunity. Reframe their mindset.
I appreciate your honesty; in this unpredictable market, every dollar counts, so I understand your willingness to save money where you can. However, there’s a reason why I won’t be lowering my commission. When I work with you, my key objective is to protect your interests. The only way to protect my earnings is to cater to your needs. Does that make sense? If you want someone who will not back down until you have the home of your dreams, I’m the agent for the job.
If they’re saying they want to entertain other agents, the following talking points/questions may prove handy:
- Great! It’s only natural to have a choice of what agent to work with; after all, you want to make sure you get the best deal. In the meantime, I’d love to share some options I have in mind for you, based on what we’ve already discussed. What do you think of that?
- What specifically are you looking for that is different from what I provide? If there isn’t anything different, then why waste time?
- What is the name of the other agent you’re entertaining? I want to make sure you’re 100% sure of your decision; how about we sit down and compare my track record vs. the other agent’s MLS Data? (If they won’t divulge the other agent’s name, focus on your list to sale price, number of transactions closed, or other advantageous stats).
4. They already have a friend who is helping them
For almost every client-agent relationship, there is a friend in the picture who “knows the market really well and can help me get the best deal.” Friendship commitments should always be respected, as they can be a reassuring and important part of the prospect’s decision-making process. However, use them to your advantage, and they can actually help you become a part of the commitment.
You owe it to your friends to value their opinion and insights; I totally understand that! My friends want the best for me, so naturally they would want the best agent working for me as well. How about I contact them on your behalf and see how I can offer some assistance! I would love to see where I can offer some additional value.
5. The Prospect who Wants to “DIY it”
When a prospect wants to find their dream home without an agent, they’re simply underestimating the amount of work agents actually do to find what they’re looking for. Perhaps they’ve had a negative experience with an agent in the past, or they did some research online and decided it’s doable to go through the buying process solo. Regardless of the reason, try to unearth exactly why they want to work on their own and encourage them to see you as a tremendous value add.
Your response: Honestly, I’m going to tell you what I tell everyone who wants to find a house on their own: do it if you think you truly know what best fits your needs. The issue is, from my experience most prospects don’t know what they don’t know. There is so much nuance to the housing market, especially in this volatile time. I’m essentially here to do all of the leg work and time-sucking preliminary research, so you don’t have to. I will be the trusted advisor who helps you get the best deal and then some. The buying process takes quite a long time and research, so let me send you a cheat sheet I use to keep everything organized and efficient. It’s on me!
6. The Prospect is Simply “Not Interested”
Let’s face it: more often, “not interested” means “not interested in agents”. This sentiment is probably coming from a previous bad experience. It would be best if you coaxed the prospect into divulging exactly what it was that previously soured the agent experience for them.
I want to let you know that whatever you want is right with me; I’m here to serve. However, it sounds like you had a bad experience in the past. Your experience depends a lot on the kind of agent you work with. May I ask exactly what the issue was?
The goal here is not to be pushy or make it obvious you have an agenda. Treat them like you would a reassuring friend who genuinely wants to help them solve a problem. Even if it’s not a yes right away, sometimes it takes time to rebuild trust in another agent. Be sure to prove your value by keeping in touch with the prospect more than any other agent in your area. Just an occasional check-in to see where their head is at. Keeping you at the forefront of their mind and demonstrating that you want to build a genuine long-term relationship will make choosing you an easy decision once the time is right for them to begin searching for a new home.
7. When the Prospect Doesn’t Think They’re Ready
As is with many “not on the market” objections (leads who have already made up their minds), your key objective is to get to the bottom of why they’re not ready to buy or sell.
Even if they’re not ready now, you must show how you can provide great value before the buying process starts. That way, nobody feels like they’re prematurely committing to something they’re not ready for.
That is okay! Taking your time is a healthy approach that will ensure you’ll get an even better price on the sale. In the meantime, how about I warm up the market for you? I have a few potential properties in mind that haven’t hit the market; I don’t mind creating some buzz and putting in a good word for you. When do you think you’ll be ready?
8. The Renters
There are many reasons why a prospect will prefer renting over buying. The purchase process may seem stressful, or perhaps they prefer the flexibility of renting a home over the equity. You need to understand the prospect’s mindset as much as possible and act accordingly.
Prospect: I like the place I’m currently renting
I love the place you rent too! Let me ask you this: why pay someone else’s mortgage when you can pay for yours and pay less monthly for a better house?
9. The Prospect with Poor Credit
Some prospects want to buy; they need the right kind of support in their corner. You need to ease the prospect’s fears, educate them, and become a part of the solution.
Prospect: I want to buy a home, I’m just not sure my credit allows it.
I know it’s easy to get defeated, but I implore you not to stop looking for the home you want because of that. I have worked with companies that have successfully helped my prospects boost their credit scores. Would you like me to ask them what they can do for you?
10. Getting over the Post-Covid Objection Hump
It is no question that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the real estate market. There is a lot of mistrust and trepidation around buying or selling a home. There is already a lot of stress involved with buying and selling a home in the best of times, so you must understand that the uncertain market post-pandemic only exacerbates this.
It is important to be as supportive and encouraging as possible going into the sale. Eliminate uncertainty, educate your prospects on how business is done during these times, and go above and beyond to offer help when and where you can.
Prospect: I’m hesitant to move until this crisis passes and the market stabilizes.
Believe me, I completely understand. I don’t want to add more to your plate; on the contrary, I want to make this process as easy as possible. We offer weekly virtual webinars educating buyers on the best ways to navigate the current market. Would you like me to send you an invite?
Remember: you are a trusted advisor first and an agent second. The prospect must feel they can fully trust you to keep their best interests in mind.