I was recently reminded of a story my daughter shared from when she was in grad school.

She was living in downtown Chicago, and she was out for a walk one evening. As she approached a corner, a man came around the blind corner of a building. She said she screamed and dropped to the ground.

I asked, “Grace, what was THAT all about?! Why did you scream? Why did you drop to the ground?”

She said, “Well, I was startled. I wasn't expecting him, and it scared me.” I said, “Well, if you feel like you're being attacked, the instinct should be fight or flight. ‘Stop, drop, and roll’ is if you're on fire.” She reiterated, “Yeah, but I wasn't expecting him.”

Of course, if she had been expecting him and could have seen him from a distance instead of suddenly coming around the corner, it wouldn't have startled her. She wouldn't have screamed. She wouldn't have fallen to the ground. She may have even had a nice conversation with him; who knows?

Objection, Your Honor! 

But it got me thinking about objections and how unprepared we are for them in the sales process. Whether you hear, “I'm happy with my current broker,” or “My renewal isn’t for another seven months,” or “Aren't all brokers the same?” We hear those objections, and we're not prepared; we feel like we've been attacked.

As I said, the instinct of fight or flight kicks in when you feel attacked. Of course, when you're prospecting and selling, punching somebody in the nose or running away are not very good tactics.

But we should never be surprised by objections; they're predictable. Objections are a natural part of the sales process. To keep from being surprised and caught off guard, make a list of the objections you hear regularly, script out how you're going to respond to them, and practice your responses regularly.

Then, the next time you hear them, you won't be startled; you won't feel like you're being attacked. Instead, you'll smile and nod, knowing you have a response. Who knows, maybe that objection will lead to the pleasant conversation you're hoping for.

To get you started, here are some suggested responses to three of the most common objections you'll likely hear.

Objection 1 – “We’re happy with our current broker.”

How to answer

It isn't all that unusual for us to hear that a prospect is satisfied with their broker. However, when we dig a little deeper, we find that they usually assess their broker based on what we call the "traditional role." That is, they judge their broker based on their ability to take care of their renewal and their responsiveness to service issues during the year.

Of course, all of that is important, but the role brokers should be filling has grown well beyond those basic functions. The "traditional model" is antiquated and inadequate.

Once we describe our approach and explain the role we fill as an advisor, those same prospects can see that there is more they should be expecting from their broker than they are currently getting. They usually start reassessing how satisfied they truly should be.

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All we are looking for right now is an opportunity to introduce you to how we work and to explain the areas in which we bring value to our clients. If, after that conversation, you still feel your broker is doing a good job, we’ll congratulate you and tell you to keep doing what you are already doing together. However, if, instead, you see that you aren't being provided everything you should be getting, we can then decide if we should continue our conversation or not.

Objection two – “We don’t renew for seven more months.”

How to answer

That makes now the perfect time to talk. I know that the typical agent wants to speak to you immediately before renewal, but that's just the opposite of us.

Your renewal time is about choosing a carrier and plan design. I want to discuss another critical decision: selecting an advisor to best serve your overall HR/benefits needs. By visiting with us now, you can focus on our approach and better understand how it will put you in a better position to deal with your renewal when that time comes around.

Objection three – “All brokers are the same.”

How to answer

It doesn’t surprise me to hear you say that. It may seem that way, and it's often true that many agencies are offering the same type of services. Unfortunately, all too often, companies aren't getting the true benefit of those services.

What makes our approach unique is the process we go through to identify your needs and opportunities, prioritize the areas to be addressed, and then build an alignment plan to ensure our clients receive the right results and that those results become sustainable.

Most brokers may have the same list of services, but finding someone like us who uses them strategically is anything but typical.

Keep adding

Of course, the responses above may not be something you like or are comfortable with as is, but change them around until they are. With practiced responses to these objections and others, you'll add to your list and continue tipping the odds of sales success in your favor.


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Photo by Allistair F