by Mark Giganti, National Recruiting Coordinator, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
In my first installment, we established “if” you should answer an objection, and when to answer it most effectively, let’s look at the first of four steps in a method for handling objections:
Step 1: Cushion the objection. When someone objects to what you’ve said; an impression they have of your university/program…..what do you think they expect to happen next? For you to defend your position, to take the opposite stance, to change their mind. Want to throw them for a loop?
Don’t. Cushion their objection first. Here’s an example: “Your program/college/conference seems way smaller than the other schools I’m interested in.” The typical response: A) “Well, we’re bigger than some schools, we have X students, we play against X schools.” A cushioned response sounds like this: B) “The size of the program/college/conference you choose is important, isn’t it?”
In response A, you move to an adversarial position with the prospect, in response B you move to a sympathetic stance….not agreeing with their position, but acknowledging its validity. Once you’ve established your stance, the prospect is more willing to listen because you’re not in an opposite position, but a “next to” position. Imagine it visually: In response A, you are directly across the table from the prospect. In response B, you have moved from across the table to next to them at the table. That’s what the cushion accomplishes.
Another example might serve to clarify even further: “Coach, the money I’m being offered from other schools is more than you/the university is offering.” Typical response: A) “I only have so much to give, and we’re tapped out on budget dollars…this is the best I can do.” Cushioned response: B) “Taking all the variables including finances into consideration when choosing a school is important isn’t it?”
Remember, we haven’t even begun to talk about answering the objection yet. We’re merely getting into position so the prospect can hear the answer in the best way. First we must cushion the objection, THEN we answer it, and begin to move the call/visit to the next step. Those are steps two and three. I told you there were four steps. The fourth is one we’ll explore when you get the never ending objections…they just keep coming, and coming, and coming…but more about that later. In my next installment I’ll tell you more about answering the objection – Step two in our process. Until then….cushion to your heart’s delight. Try it at home when you get objections from your family, and let me know how it goes.
Mark Giganti is a National Recruiting Coordinator at Tudor Collegiate Strategies, specializing in recruiting strategy and sales techniques for college coaches. To reach Mark with questions about overcoming prospect objections in your recruiting conversations, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.