Responding to objections has long been a focus of sales training courses. In my experience, many approaches to the subject have been negative or, at best, cautionary. I see objections as opportunities for an Admissions Counselor to represent more value for their school, and not as an obstacle to avoid or be anxious about. Like school exams, when I studied and was prepared to take a test, my attitude was "bring it on!" I think our feeling towards objections that we receive about attending our school should be the same.
In this video, we present one of five ways we believe a counselor can respond to an objection voiced by a prospective student or constituent. I hope you can use what you learn to better represent the value of your school during the enrollment process.
Transcript of the video...
Narration - In this video we’ll demonstrate how to respond to a common price objection that many Admissions Counselors hear using the feel, felt and found method.
McKenzie MacDonald has applied, been accepted and admitted to 2 private and 1 public 4 year schools. She and her parents have researched and visited all the schools and she’s planning to enroll for the fall semester. They've just received their third financial aid packet from 1 of the privates, Objection University, and they’re comparing them in order to make the best decision for McKenzie and their family.
This scenario starts with McKenzie, along with her parents, Michael and Martha, in a meeting with Amy Amhurst, McKenzie’s Admissions Counselor. Amy set up the meeting to answer any questions they had on the financial aid packet they had just received.
Amy - Good afternoon, how are you all doing today? Did you have a good weekend?
Michael - Yes, I got a round of golf in and watched the final round of the Masters yesterday.
Amy - And how about you, McKenzie?
McKenzie - I did homework most of the weekend. I have an English Lit paper due on Friday and I haven't started it yet.
Amy - So how do you like English Lit?
McKenzie - Not very much, it's a lot of reading.
Amy - I understand. That wasn't one of my favorite courses either.
Michael - So Amy, I’ve got another appointment in 10 minutes so we should probably get started.
Amy - Great. Let's do that. Did you receive the financial aid packet we sent you last week?
Michael - We did, and we've reviewed it along with some others we've received. After looking at all the options McKenzie has, it appears we simply can't justify the cost of attending a private college when we compare it to a state school that’s closer to home.
Amy - Thanks for your candor, Mr. McDonald and I can understand why you feel that way.
Narration - A "feel" statement demonstrates understanding & empathy making the prospective student and any constituents comfortable feeling the way they do.
Amy - Over the years, other families I talked too have felt the same way.
Narration - A "felt" statement helps the prospective student and any constituents know they are not alone in their thinking as others have felt the same way. Up to this point the goal is for the Counselor to show authentic empathy and help the family to feel comfortable and safe.
Amy - One thing you may want to consider is that some recent research in California has shown that when using comparable admission standards, students attending private colleges will graduate in 4 years at a rate 2.5 times greater than students attending public state schools. With that, here’s the kicker:
With every year that the student remains in college, they continue to pay tuition, while also losing on income earned as a college grad. So, if the annual net tuition at the state school is, say, $5,500 and we know from the last census that the average starting salary for a college grad with a Bachelor’s degree is about $43,000, that’s a total loss of $48,500 in year five of college; and we can only hope it doesn’t take another semester or even a 6th year! That $48,500 added to the four-year state school tuition bill moves the total cost beyond what would be paid in the four years at a private college.
Narration - A "found" statement presents outside research or a story from someone else other than their Counselor. A 3rd party perspective can often be more persuasive than a position that a Counselor takes or presents. In other words, this can have more impact on the family’s final opinion on the issue of a private school's cost simply because it's not coming from the Counselor. It's not that the Counselor doesn't have credibility, it's that the family expects them to have a pro-private school position on this matter.
Michael – When you look at it that way, and depending upon how long McKenzie takes to graduate, I guess I can see the potential savings of attending Objection. And given she’s uncertain of what degree to pursue at this time, that could happen.
Amy – So let’s do this. If you feel like you’re ready to make a decision we can take care of the deposit check now. If you feel you need more time to think and talk it through you should do that. What do you think?
Michael – So McKenzie, it’s your call. What do you want to do?
Martha- Sweetie, we've had discussions about this, and I agree with your father. It's your decision now.
McKenzie – I want to attend Objection, Dad.
Michael – Ok, Amy I guess it’s decided. You’ve got a new student. Who do I write the check to?
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