As any experienced agent will tell you, the hardest objections to overcome happen when your seller is the most emotional. Money, more than any other issue, triggers these emotional objections.
After all, sellers are just as concerned about money as we are. The only difference is that instead of a high commission, they want as much money as they can get for their homes. That’s why it’s crucial for listing agents to learn how to anticipate and overcome emotional seller objections early in the deal.
In this article, you’ll learn how to anticipate the most common emotional seller objections before they arise and how to address them early, so you and your seller have a stress-free real estate transaction.
The 3 Keys to Handling a Seller’s Emotional Objections
Great sales people learn to anticipate the emotions of their client. We know that topics that involve money will cause an emotional reaction, and we need to be prepared to handle these unpredictable responses. Otherwise, we could get caught off guard and react emotionally ourselves.
The three key strategies to handling objections are anticipation, preparation, and presentation:
Anticipation is thinking about each step of the listing process from the seller’s perspective. What conversations and situations are likely to trigger an emotional response? When will these conversations happen in your deal flow?
Once we have identified the common emotional triggers and know when to expect them, we can prepare how we will handle the objections to create a better seller experience.
The true art is in uncovering the objection early, long before the situation has arisen that will trigger the seller’s emotions. Probing questions and a well-crafted presentation will shed light on the seller’s emotional hot spots.
Keep reading to learn the three seller conversations that if not handled correctly, will make your seller’s blood boil!
How to Anticipate, Prepare for & Address Your Seller’s Emotional Objections
Next, you’ll learn to identify and handle the three emotional money triggers your seller will have, prepare for them, and finally, craft your listing presentation to address these objections before they become emotional later in the deal:
1. Anticipate: Learn the Seller’s 3 Most Common Emotional Triggers
Handling emotional seller objections requires us to anticipate the objections and prepare ourselves to handle them. An inexperienced agent would believe that simply answering the objection will solve the problem. The truth is answering the objection without fully understanding the real issue is like a doctor prescribing medication without doing a full diagnosis. They call that malpractice!
The biggest emotional trigger by far in your deal will be money issues. Generally speaking, the three most common objections about money will be commission objections, pricing objections, and price reduction objections.
The first emotional money trigger that will result in objections won’t be a surprise to any agent.
Sellers won’t always openly say, “I object to your commission rate!” In fact, they may not know exactly what they are feeling; something just isn’t sitting right with them. They may say things like “I need to get more money.” or “Is this the best you can do?” or even “Another agent said they would do it for less.”
The truth is, the seller’s objection to your commission is just the surface of the conversation. There is a saying that “people do not respond to your reality—they respond to their own.” To effectively prepare for commission objections, we need to uncover the corresponding emotion behind the objection and the possible real-world circumstances that are causing it. In order to create an outstanding real estate experience, we must pull back the curtain and discover what is causing them to react emotionally.
In the chart below, we show the seller’s objections around your commission, the corresponding emotion, and the real circumstance that is triggering the emotion.
The Seller Emotions Behind Commission Objections
|“I expected to get more money.”||The anticipation of more money.||Seller needs enough money to achieve their next purchase.|
|“I need to get …”||The disappointment that they may not be able to sell.||Seller has limited resources and needs money to survive.|
|“Is this the best you can do?”||The fear of leaving money behind.||Seller doesn’t want to pay more than what they believe is fair.|
|“The other agent said they could do it for less!”||The fear that they are not being treated fairly.||Seller doesn’t see the difference in your value over the competitor.|
|“Will you do it for less?”||The fear of being taken advantage of.||Seller believes it is customary to negotiate commissions.|
As you can see, the feeling of fear is most commonly driving the objection, but the underlying circumstances are what is actually causing the emotion behind it. If we are only dealing with the objection, we may not be dealing with the underlying cause, and we therefore can’t be fully effective in handling the objection.
Another sensitive seller conversation is determining the asking price. So delicate, in fact, that many agents simply avoid the conversation and allow the seller to price the property wherever they want, despite the data and their hard-won experience suggesting differently.
Of course, this is a huge mistake that can mean the difference between just getting a deal closed and winning a lifelong client. Sellers are almost always disappointed later when they realize that not taking our pricing advice prevented them from achieving their goal.
When it comes to determining the price of the property, the seller’s emotions cause them to throw logic out the window. They dismiss the comparable properties as inadequate to their own and overrate the features of their property. In behavioral economics, this irrational logic is called the endowment effect.
If we take the time to anticipate the seller’s emotions and look behind the emotion, we can prepare ourselves to address the objection before the circumstance arises to trigger an irrational response.
Here are the most common pricing objections along with the emotions and circumstances driving them:
Emotional Seller Pricing Objections
|“I expected to get more money.”||The anticipation of more money.||Seller needs enough money to achieve their next purchase.|
|“I owe X therefore I need to get Y!”||Anger: To show dominance.||Seller has limited resources and needs money to survive. They may be hiding something or embarrassed about their situation.|
|“My home is worth more than that.”||The fear of leaving money behind.||Seller believes the market / appraisal / Zillow says different than your data.|
|“The house down the street sold for X so mine is worth Y.”||The fear that they aren't getting a fair price.||The seller believes their home is nicer than the comparable homes.|
|“I did upgrades.” Or, “I paid more for my home.”||Disappointed that they spent money that they may not get back.||Seller believes they have invested more into their home than the comparable homes.|
|“I want to test the market.”||Indifference: They act like they don’t care.||The seller may not be motivated to sell.|
Price Reduction Objections
Many listing agents believe that the fear of leaving money on the table is the main driving force for the seller’s objections when pushing back on a price reduction—but they are wrong. Although the occasional real need to net a minimum amount still could be at play, there is another hidden emotion that is driving the seller’s objection: fear.
The seller’s fear can cause an ugly shift in your otherwise pleasant relationship that can trap the unprepared agent. This emotion is the seller’s fear of being taken advantage of—by you! This fear shows up in objections like “Why haven’t you done more open houses?” or “Why haven’t you shown the house to more buyers yourself?” This is a shift of blame from the price of the property being the reason the home didn’t sell to you and your marketing plan as the reason the home has not sold.
|“You haven’t done enough.”||The fear of being taken advantage of by you.||The seller doesn’t understand the market, your pricing strategy, or marketing plan.|
|“The reason it’s not selling isn't the price.”||The anticipation of more money.||The seller doesn’t understand your marketing plan.|
|“I don’t want to lower the price.”||Disappointment that they may not get the money they hoped for.||The seller doesn’t understand your pricing strategy.|
|“Then, I just won’t sell!”||Anger that they are not in control.||The seller wants to be in control and feels that you are forcing them into a corner.|
Now that we have identified the seller’s most emotional objections, we can begin to prepare objection handlers for each. Next, we’ll go over how you can adjust your strategy to overcome these common seller objections. There are two ways to address the seller objections before the situations arise that trigger emotional responses from your sellers. The two ways are to confront the triggers by either prompting them with your listing presentation or asking the seller probing questions.
2. Preparation: Ask Probing Questions Before Your Listing Presentation
Probing questions can be asked over the phone, on Zoom, or during your listing presentation. Like a doctor testing reflexes looking for early signs of illness, you are testing with your probing questions looking for specific circumstances that, if not dealt with early, will rise up later as emotional seller frustration. Set up the objections early by creating a list of probing questions specifically designed to uncover the seller’s circumstances.
You can create your own list by taking each of the seller circumstances and creating a question to probe for the answer. See the examples below.
Probing Questions to Ask Your Seller to Uncover Potential Emotional Objections
|Seller needs enough money to achieve their next purchase.||“How much money do you need to purchase your next home?”|
|Seller has limited resources and needs money to survive.||“When you sell, what will you be using the proceeds for? Why is this important to you?”|
|Seller is interviewing other agents, who may be charging less.||“Other than commission, what is most important to you about the agent you hire?”|
|Seller needs enough money to achieve their next purchase.||“Do you know how much you will need to complete your purchase?”|
|Seller doesn’t want to pay more than what they believe is fair.||“Have you sold a home before?”|
|Seller doesn’t see the difference in your value over the competitor.||“Have you interviewed other agents? What did you like about them? What did you dislike?”|
For a more extensive list of probing questions to ask your seller, check out this guide at http://loveleadgeneration.com/probing-questions/.
3. Presentation: Prepare an Objective & Proactive Listing Presentation
With a clear understanding of what’s really going on with our sellers, we can now prepare to overcome their emotional objections in the beginning of our working relationship, long before they are at a point of emotional distress.
A well-thought-out listing presentation should handle the objections or set up the conversation so you will have the opportunity to deal with it before it becomes a problem down the road, or even sinks your deal.
6 Pre-objection Handlers to Use in Your Listing Presentation
You should also prepare your listing presentation to handle the emotional seller objections before you receive them; this is known as “pre-objection handlers.”
Once you get the hang of them, you’ll wonder how you ever presented a listing presentation and comparative market analysis (CMA) without them.
Begin with each of the emotional seller circumstances and the corresponding emotion they may feel if that situation arises. Next, add a section to your listing presentation that covers each of the known emotional seller circumstances, and add a pre-objection handler for each of the seller circumstances.
Don’t worry about fully addressing the emotional objection in your presentation itself. A pre-objection handler can just be a slide or trigger to remind you to discuss the objection when you give your presentation.
Here are some common pre-objection handlers you can include in your listing presentation:
6 Pre-objection Handlers for Your Listing Presentation
|Seller believes the market / appraisal / Zillow says different than your data.||“You may be concerned why Zillow says differently than my CMA.”||Explain why other sources like Zillow may come up with a different value than your CMA, prior to presenting your CMA.|
|The seller believes their home is nicer than the comparable homes.||“You may believe that your home is better than the other homes in the neighborhood.”||Explain how sellers may have an emotional connection to their property that creates a perceived additional value.|
|Seller believes they have invested more into their home than the comparable homes.||“You may feel that you have invested in features, like windows, that have dollar for dollar increased the value of the property."||Explain why some upgrades, like new insulated windows, do not increase that value dollar for dollar.|
|Seller wants to test the market.||“I would like to review my pricing strategy and marketing plan with you so you understand how I get qualified buyers to your home.”||Explain in detail how your marketing plan and pricing strategy will net them more money.|
|Seller believes it is customary to negotiate commissions.||“Allow me to explain how commissions are divided up.”||Sellers don’t understand that we are independent contractors and that we carry all the expenses. Explain in detail and transparency the costs to manage your real estate business.|
|The seller doesn’t understand your pricing strategy.||“Allow me to explain my pricing strategy and weekly market update conversations.”||Explain to them that you don’t create the market, you just interpret it. You will review with them each week how the market is responding to their price and you may need to make price adjustments to find the price the market will accept.|
Bottom Line: Prepare to Win
Benjamin Franklin was quoted as saying, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” This is true when it comes to handling emotionally charged seller objections. Many sales people fail to take the time to address the seller’s emotional objections before they become heated.
Instead, anticipate the objections, prepare your presentation to handle the objections, and address them at your listing presentation. The secret is to address the objection before emotions take over.
Over to You
What did you think of our ideas on anticipating and overcoming emotional seller objections? Know a great strategy that we forgot? Let us know in the comments below.