How to Use LAER for Handling Objections

LAER is most widely known as a marketing technique used by salespeople. However, you will find that it’s actually a great active listening technique for handling objections in any scenario. That’s why we’ll explain in this article how to listen, acknowledge, explore, and respond to objections you might face when approaching location owners with a proposal to place your ATM.

What is LAER?

LAER is a communication strategy that stands for Listen, Acknowledge, Explore, and Respond. While you might think these four steps go without saying, it’s actually a method that needs to be practiced and perfected. Too often we want to jump in with our solution, especially when we are so confident and sure of it. But doing so will almost certainly cost you the deal.

You know you have a good idea. You wouldn’t be approaching business owners with an ATM opportunity if you weren’t sure the location would benefit from it. And, you know there is little to no risk on the part of the location owner. But how do you get someone to trust you and to hear you out (especially for your first placement)? 

If you’ve struggled to negotiate locations in the past, it probably isn’t the idea that isn’t working; it might be the presentation. These are the four steps of the LAER method explained:


This is the first step, but it will be a vital one throughout the entire conversation. You don’t want to just listen to the owners’ initial objections, you’ll want to also listen to their answers to your questions. 

Listening doesn’t just mean not interrupting. It means really trying to understand the perspective of the speaker. As the location owner says he or she isn’t interested, try to understand why. When you ask probing questions to get to the root of the pain that’s causing the objection (step 3, explore), listen closely to the answers. 

This way, when you respond (step 4), your response is personalized, genuine, and helpful. Responding in this way rather than from a generic script will show the owner that you are a professional who actually listens.


During and after actively listening to the owner’s objections and answers to your questions, acknowledge that you understand what is being said. Acknowledgement can be a verbal, “I understand,” or a non-verbal head nod. Whether or not you agree with what is being said, acknowledgement encourages the speaker to keep talking. 

When he or she is finished, begin your response with a summary of what was said. If you get it right, great! If you get it wrong, the speaker will be happy to clarify and probably grateful for the opportunity because it shows that the conversation is two-way.

No longer are you simply trying to “sell” a machine, an idea, or a proposal. You are engaging in a professional conversation that works to please both parties. Again, acknowledgement doesn’t necessarily mean agreement. It just means that you are trying to meet the owner at his or her point(s) of concern 


Exploring allows you to dig deeper into the root of the objection. What exactly is causing the concern? Where is the objection coming from? You might find that a location owner is objecting due to past experiences, misinformation, or different goals or agenda. 

Ask questions that allow you to better understand why people are objecting. Don’t assume you know why they don’t agree. If you do, your response isn’t going to cut it; you will only scratch the surface of the problem. Don’t try to align what you hear with your beliefs. Instead, try to really understand them so that you can provide a realistic response.


Don’t tell someone why their way of thinking is wrong. This is aggressive, salesy, and off-putting, and it’s a surefire way to convince someone not to work with you. If you simply respond with facts, you can let someone determine on his or her own what makes the most sense. 

Your response should be factual and helpful. Recommend a solution, a next step, and/or compromise. Keep reading to see some common objections you can use to prepare yourself.  

What Objections Do ATM Owners Face?

New ideas can be scary. Change can be scary. Why try to fix what isn’t broken, right? Location owners might be particularly hesitant to enter into a partnership with you if they really don’t know much about ATM machines or the business. The less they already know, the scarier the change will be.

Location owners are also busy. Don’t be surprised if they aren’t quick to jump at an opportunity that they think will create more work for them. They also might not see that the potential rewards outweigh the perceived risk.

Here are some objections you might come across (or maybe already have) when approaching location owners:

  • I’m afraid an ATM machine will attract crime.
  • I don’t have room for a machine in my store.
  • I don’t have time to handle an ATM machine.
  • I think I’d rather purchase my own machine.
  • I don’t feel comfortable working with someone new to the business.

What kinds of questions can you ask to dig deeper into the root of the objection? Next, we’ll provide an example.

What Happens without the LAER Method?

Let’s take a look at two conversations, one that uses LAER and one that does not. Which one sounds more effective to you?

Without LAER:

ATM Owner: Thank you so much for your time. I wanted to talk to you about placing an ATM machine in your store. Is this something you might be interested in?

Location Owner: No, not really. I don’t want people breaking into my store.

ATM Owner: Well you see, adding an ATM to your store will increase traffic to your store and get you more sales. 

In this scenario, the ATM owner provides the location owner with the potential value and benefits of adding an ATM machine to the location. However, this response completely ignores the root of the objection. So it isn’t going to be a strong enough response to convince the location owner to work with you.

This response also sounds rehearsed. It’s totally acceptable to use a script to guide you, especially when you are just starting out. But in this case, the script is obvious because it sounds as though the ATM owner wasn’t really listening to the location owner. Instead, the ATM owner responds as though it didn’t actually matter what the location owner said; the response was going to be the same. 

It sounds almost as if the ATM owner was just waiting for the opportunity to recite the list of benefits. And while they might be true (there really is a list of benefits of ATM machines for location owners), they don’t address the concern the location owner has. This response does not provide a solution or compromise.

With LAER:

ATM Owner: Thank you so much for your time. I wanted to talk to you about placing an ATM machine in your store. Is this something you might be interested in?

Location Owner: No, not really. I don’t want people breaking into my store.

ATM Owner: I understand. Break-ins can be expensive! Have you experienced a break-in here before?

Location Owner: No, but I’ve heard stories of other robberies in this area.

ATM Owner: Oh. There have been robberies in this area? Were they ATM robberies?

Location Owner: No, they robbed cash registers. OR I don’t know.

ATM Owner: Are you worried about theft during store hours or after store hours?

Location Owner: Well, both, but the robberies here happened (during/after) store hours.

ATM Owner: Uh huh. I see. Well robbery is definitely a concern, but ATM machines aren’t really a big target for armed robbery. It takes a long time to breach an ATM machine, and that increases the risk for average robbers. What if we put the ATM machine outside of the store?

Do you see how this scenario sounds more like a two-way conversation with both parties sharing new information with the other? The ATM owner listens to the location owner by repeating or summarizing what the location owner says, acknowledges the location owner by verbally affirming that he or she understands, explores the root of the problem by asking probing follow-up questions, and responds with facts specifically about ATM crime and even proposes a compromise.

So if you were questioning the effectiveness of active listening strategies before, hopefully now you see the benefit! Are there other methods you can use? Absolutely! The point is that you practice active listening in order to provide more effective responses and close those deals!

How to Use LAER for Handling Objections

In summary, listen to what the owner says, acknowledge that you understand the objections, explore in depth the pain that is driving the objection, and respond to the pain only when you fully understand it.

The concept is simple, but execution can be tricky. You might not get it perfect right away. Practice using it and listening for it in your day to day conversations. You may find that it even improves your conversations with your loved ones!

For scripts you can use to get location owners to talk to you to negotiate deals, check out the Member’s Area at!

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