You're coming to the end of a two-hour presentation. You've introduced yourself, talked, listened, measured, listened some more, and now you're ready to present a price and ask for their business. And that's what you do. At which point your client responds with an objection, which — if you're not ready for it — will leave you fumbling for something to say, making your presentation look scripted and rehearsed, while rendering all your efforts useless.

Think I'm kidding? It happens somewhere every hour of every day. Sometimes homeowners respond with these objections because they just don't want to have to make a decision. Sometimes they have misgivings that they haven't actually stated yet. Sometimes their reason for not buying is real. Sometimes it's an excuse. Whatever it is, to get the sale you need to respond in a way that restarts the conversation and brings it back around to the purpose of your visit.

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY A homeowner's biggest objection to doing business will be money. That has always been true, but it's even truer today after four years of recession and semi-recession. People buy big-ticket items far more carefully than they ever did before and, in most cases, they have changed from indulging their wants to satisfying their needs. That's why it's important to find out, as soon as you can, just how much the homeowner plans to spend. (See “What's Your Budget?” on page 43.)

In the meantime, after you've talked about their needs and discussed product benefits, you've given them a price. If their objection is to how much the project costs, chances are they'll respond with one of two statements: “That's more than we want to spend,” or “We had no idea it would be that much money.

Both of these statements essentially say that the cost is too much. But they're two different statements. If the prospect says “That's a lot,” or “That's a lot more than we thought it was going to be,” you have more room to move.

Even in the age of the Internet, when anyone can go online and get some sense of what a window, siding, or a deck job might cost, there are people with far-fetched ideas of what those costs are. Blame it on big-box advertising. Certain homeowners can't imagine that that off-the-rack window, which sells for $89 or $149 in The Home Depot or Lowe's, would cost much more than twice the retail price to put in. If the deck you're proposing to build consists of much the same materials as that $3,500 deck package in the promotional flyer, how could you possibly be asking $15,000 to build it?

First, establish a realistic comparison. Find out how much they know about what windows, siding, or a deck cost to install. Say, for instance, your price for a house full of windows is $20,000, and your prospect says: “Whew! We thought it would be around $7,000 or $8,000.” Ask them where they came up with that number. Now you can explain the difference between the custom windows sold by your company — that they're manufactured to fit the openings that you just measured and are triple-paned, krypton-filled, etc. — and the big-box windows. You may already have mentioned this detail in passing, but now, in a dollars-for-dollars comparison, it takes on meaning and your price makes sense to them.

Or, say you're selling a deck. Explain that the deck package is not based on the configuration of your home. Considerations such as height off the ground, stairs, and local building codes haven't been addressed. Yes, it takes more work to elaborate the details, but a complete scope of work included in your proposal provides your essential talking points.

Meanwhile, show them with photos or video what your work looks like. If they really want to do the job but don't have the money or can't finance, it's time to talk about doing the job in stages.

Final point: If the homeowner gets a price, objects to the price, and you attempt to meet the price objection by walking them through the job in this way, body language will tell you whether they're actually interested or if they're simply waiting for you to leave. If they pay attention and continue to ask questions, it means they're trying to convince themselves to make the purchase.