Handling Objections: A One-Scene Role-Play

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In a contractor sales training a couple weeks ago, the section that got the participants the most engaged was on “Handling Objections”. I want to dissect that more, but for today, I’m going to limit this to offering a virtual role-play. Here’s the scene. We’re at a home, at the tail end of an assessment. Advisor (Mike) asks Homeowner (Anne) if she’s ready to move forward.

MIKE (Advisor): Now that we’ve figured out what’s going on and how to make sure your daughter’s room stays warm, would you like me to go ahead and write up the order so we can get a crew out here to fix things?

ANNE (Homeowner): I don’t think I’m ready.

MIKE: I understand. A project like this is a big undertaking. Is there something in particular that you unsure of?

ANNE: It just seems so involved. The insulation sounds complicated, and cutting open the wall to fix that duct is really going to make a mess.

MIKE: Yeah, there’s no doubt construction can be a bit disruptive. Fortunately, we’ve got a great handle on exactly what you need to make fix your daughter’s bedroom.  Won’t that be a relief? Have you had to deal with construction mess before?

ANNE: Well, when we built the addition to make the family room bigger, it was a nightmare. It took so long, and it seemed like we were living in dust for months. And you know I work out of my home office, and I think the noise would just be too much.

MIKE: Wow, that doesn’t sound good. I can certainly understand not wanting to deal with that. It must have been hard working with the banging and sawing for that long.

ANNE: Yeah, and I had to replace the hallway runner after. It just seemed dirty and worn out will all the foot traffic.

MIKE: I certainly wouldn’t expect you to be too excited about going through that again. This project should only take 2 1/2 days. Can I tell you a bit more about the installation process we use?


MIKE: Fortunately most of the insulation work happens outside or up in the attic.  At the end of the day, we rake the yard, and sweep out the garage and the driveway.

Cutting out that drywall is going to make some dust. But we cover everything in the room, and vacuum as we go to capture the dust. We actually hang plastic over the door, and use a fan to keep the dust out of the rest of the house.

When our crews get here, they put on the same booties I’m wearing, and they lay tarps down from the doorway all the way to the room—their shoes never touch your floor. That inside work should only one day to get the ductwork replaced and the wall closed back up and on the second day we’ll be back to get the wall paint-ready.

Now, can you help me understand how we can help with the noise?

ANNE: I’m on the phone throughout the day. And it just doesn’t sound professional if I’ve got the racket in the background. It’s distracting, too.

MIKE: That sure would be.

We have a no radio policy, so you don’t have to hear blaring music. The attic work shouldn’t be noisy—you won’t hear that in your office.

But the first day we’ll be drilling into the wall from the outside, and there will be some noise from cutting in the duct. It’s not continuous, but it is there. What if we set you up in our conference room for a day? High speed internet and phone? Just so you wouldn’t have to deal with the noise for the day?

ANNE: I actually go in to the office for the day every Wednesday.

MIKE: Oh, we can work with that. How about if we schedule the project to start on a Wednesday, we’ll get the noisy part out of the way then? And could we finish up on Thursday, with a perhaps few hours on Friday morning?

ANNE: That could work.

MIKE: Great. I’ll call the office so we can find the right date for you. And we’ll book the cleaning service for that Friday afternoon just to give you some extra peace of mind that by the time your daughter is home from school, everything is buttoned up and ready to go.

ANNE: OK, that sounds good.

OK, they’re not all that easy. But there are some important things going on here that we’ll revisit soon to outline an approach to handling objections.


See also,

Part 2:  “Objection Handling” Overview

Part 3:  Objection Handling Exercise

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About the Author:

Mike Rogers is the President of OmStout Consulting. A nationally recognized expert in residential energy-efficiency, he works with contractors and programs to scale sustainable market approaches to improving homes. More on Google+


  1. Matt Redmond  March 20, 2013

    Good one Mike..What’s your take on HP contractors who promise too much and don’t live up to the sales hype? How do you convince the contractor to deliver what he promises?

    • Mike Rogers  April 8, 2013

      Matt, ultimately the market decides what to do with a contractor who doesn’t deliver. In the long term, the contractor who under-promises and over-delivers will create the customer satisfaction the drives repeat business and referrals. In the short term, homeowners should insist on proper credentials and insurance and clear contracts.

  2. Richard Riegel Burbank  March 19, 2013

    Nice illustration of handling a concern that made a customer reluctant to move foreward.

    In my experience, to help allay concerns more effectively than empathizing and making claims would be give evidence from specific customers and how your company was able to meet their concerns and exceed their expectations. The difference is subtle but potent. An example my company brings out in these occasions is to talk about our project in our local Carnegie Library, built of stone almost 100 yrs ago, that we fully insulated and air sealed WHILE the library was open for business. We carefully contained the mess of drilling holes through interior plaster, blew in dense pack mineral wool (a messy and detailed process), repaired plaster, and repainted. All of this happened with librarians smiling and patrons continuing to use the library.

    Real stories about your customers are much more engaging and convincing than saying, “Hey, don’t worry, we got you covered.”

    Another point is to prevent objections but asking questions early in the sales process that may uncover customer concerns. A seasoned professional sales person who has trained me and my companies sales staff likened the sales process to walking down a long hall with dozens of open doors. Each open door could old the boogie man, the customer objection, ready to jump out and stop you dead in your tracks. The open door is a potential objection.

    If you have been doing sales long enough, you ask the right questions to understand what your customer is wanting and what matters to them. By pro-actively asking questions and listening, you “close the doors” of all the objections as you move down the “hall” of the sales process. The more doors you can close ahead of time by asking and listening, the better fit your solution is to your customers needs.

    Then you will be ready for that final objection hiding behind the door at the end of the hall. It is the only real objection you should worry about . . . the price objection. Your proposal is too expensive.

    Mike, how about that being your next blog post? Answering the “Your price is too high” objection.

    • Mike Rogers  April 9, 2013

      “Your price is too high” is certainly a common one, and worth teasing out. In the meantime, I’ve outline the basic principles in a new post outlining a recommended approach. What do you think?



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