The LAER technique is one of the most effective ways of handling objections. Created by Carew International, LAER is a time-tested, investigative way of handling and overcoming objections.
Using the LAER Technique
Here’s a breakdown of each step in the LAER process.
Take the time to listen to and understand the customer’s objection. Ask them to expand and elaborate on their point, and listen closely to the words they use.
Be patient, and never interrupt a customer under any circumstances. CAREW International also advises against crafting a response in your head during this phase - that’s not listening! Be patient, listen, and comprehend both the words and the context the customer uses them in.
Acknowledgment should be both verbal and non-verbal. You may subconsciously begin the acknowledgment phase while listening by nodding your head to show understanding.
Validate the customer’s thoughts and feelings, and offer empathy. Repeat their point back to them, so they know you heard what they said and can clarify any misunderstandings. You may move back and forth between the first two steps quite a bit, but be patient.
Avoid interjecting your own thoughts and feelings - this step still revolves 100% around the customer, and all you should be doing is offering your support and empathy.
In this step, your goal is to uncover the root cause of the customer’s objection, as well as any other objections they may have.
While this is a back-and-forth conversation, still refrain from responding or trying to remedy the objection. Instead, ask exploratory questions to understand their position in detail. Carew International advises against “interrogating” the customer, but instead paying attention to what is said and how it’s said.
This can be a tedious process, and you may have to cycle through the first three steps several times to be 100% clear. Ask, listen, and confirm you understood correctly. This important information will go a long way in sealing the deal.
Now, it’s your turn to do the talking. Address all the concerns the customer has in a way that creates a mutually-beneficial outcome. It’s important to know the difference between responding and reacting, and never let your emotions get the best of you.
You can recommend a solution, offer problem-solving tactics, or suggest an appropriate next step. It may take a while to get here, but you’ll be happy you took the time to fully understand and address the customer’s objections.
LAER in Action
Here’s an example of objection handling using LAER:
Customer: “I’m sorry, I just don’t think this product is feasible with our current budget.”
Salesperson: “Can you elaborate on that a bit?”
Customer: “This product seems great, but the price is much higher than similar models.”
Salesperson: “I understand your concerns. So, what I’m hearing is that you’re worried the price may be more than your company can spend on a product like this?”
Customer: “Yes, that’s correct. I’m not sure how this product compares in quality to similar models, but it is more expensive.”
Salesperson: “When you say you’re not sure how the quality compares to similar models, what do you mean?”
Customer: “We’ve spent more on high-end models before, and it’s come back to bite us in terms of repair costs.”
Salesperson: “I understand. So, you’d need to be assured of the durability of our products before making a purchase?” (Back to “Acknowledge”)
Customer: “That’s correct. I want to know this product will last us a long time.”
Salesperson: “I understand the concerns you have about our product’s durability, and I’m sorry you’ve had negative experiences with products in the past. Our company always strives to deliver the most reliable products possible, and I’d be happy to offer you an extended warranty for no additional cost.”
Using the LAER Technique
The LAER technique is not your average sales pitch - it’s a relationship-building approach that increases understanding and eases customer concerns.
Say what you mean, ask the right questions, and be sure to listen. Don’t brush concerns off, as this will almost guarantee a “no sale!”
When done properly, LAER is a mutually-beneficial technique that can build lasting customer-salesperson relationships.