Last week, Phil Jones—the guy behind the famous O.F.Q. formula—appeared on a livestream hosted by REFER and moderated by Byron Lazine, Jason Cassity, and The Broke Agent

Phil set the tone by sharing what he’s learned from years of handling objections. 

People make decisions based on emotional logic. And my experience, particularly in homeownership, is it’s typically an emotionally charged decision, backed up with some logic.

Phil Jones

We put so much emphasis on logic. If the math doesn’t add up, we often talk ourselves out of seeing how moving at this period of time could still be a good idea for someone. 

Try looking at it a different way: Have you ever sold something for less than you bought it for—and felt like it was the right decision for you at the time?

Phil mentioned selling his dream car for far less than what he paid for it—and why he felt good about it afterward. Because in the end, it’s not really about the math. 

(People) want to feel smart, they want to feel capable, and they want to feel good.

Phil Jones

Those three feelings are the magic combination that opens the lock and dissolves every objection—even the ones that seem unbeatable. 

Read on to learn how Phil Jones would handle today’s three most common objections. 

Objection #1: Convincing sellers to sell when mortgage rates are above 7%

How do you convince a seller to sell their home when it means exchanging their 5%-or-lower mortgage rate for 7%-plus—especially if they have to put on their buyer hat to purchase their next home?

How do you get them to feel “good” and “smart” about making that trade? 

Here are the questions Phil asked, aiming to lead this seller from uncertain hesitation to clarity and readiness: 

  • “So, if you could move, where would you move to, and why?” 
  • “Have you seen things come to market that you’d rather be living in than here?” 
  • “And you could afford to buy a place like that?”
  • “Well, how long do you see yourself in that next home?”
  • “And you can afford to do it today?”
  • “Just have some fun with me for a second. That home in the city you want to move to—do you think that it will be worth more in ten years’ time than it will be today—yes or no?”
  • “Do you think it would cost you more if you decided to buy that house in 12-18 months?”
  • “Can you afford to be able to sell this home today, knowing you can start living in the house you’d like to live in?” 
  • “Just remind me again: How much do you hate living here?” 
  • “So, when do you want us to list this home for you?” 

Objection #2—No financial motivation to sell but would like to downsize

The second objection involved a seller who has no financial need to sell, but who has multiple properties and would like to downsize one of them. 

Phil asked about the seller’s motivation, which Byron summed up by saying they didn’t need the 4,000 square feet, anymore—or the high taxes that came with the property—and were interested in downsizing to something around 2,000 feet within walking distance of downtown. 

They’re not desperately affected by the burden since they can afford to keep paying for it. They’ve gotten used to the expense. So, Phil’s goal is to lead the seller to the conclusion that they’re maybe being an idiot, not caring that their inaction is costing them a small fortune every month—and that they could be better off by selling it.

By now, we’ve left behind the seller’s “We don’t care about selling it…but we’re selling it” game. Because, ultimately, it’s not about the money. 

What we often do in this kind of challenging market is try to help people find the “right” time to sell or the “right” time to buy. As Phil pointed out, the right to buy or sell is never today; it’s either yesterday or tomorrow. 

If we want our client to make a decision today (whatever that decision is), we have to move the conversation to “Now is a good time to buy or a good time to sell—not the right time or the best time. 

All they need is a “good” time to buy or sell—or a “decent” time. 

And in a scenario like this, treat it like it’s a small problem—something that can easily be fixed. And help them feel smart about taking action on that and working with you to get the best results. 

With that, we’re back to the 1-2-3 emotional logic: getting the client to feel smart, feel capable, and feel good about selling (or buying). And we’re taking any desperation on the agent’s part—any obvious attachment to a particular outcome—completely out of it. 

I think that’s the miss that many agents have right now. We play scared. We play like we need the money. We play like we’re petrified of their making a decision that we don’t like. We play like we’re broke. And I think we just need to play with a different posture.

Phil Jones

Objection #3: “There aren’t any homes to buy”

The third objection is one pretty much every buyer out there can relate to: There aren’t any homes to buy. Every time something becomes available, about 30 offers are coming in for it, and buyers don’t know whether they’re coming in 15th place, 2nd place, or 30th. 

Here are some of the key questions Phil asked: 

  1. How important is it to you that you become a homeowner at some point in time?” 
  2. “And on a scale of 1-10… how important is it that you actually become a homeowner in this neighborhood?” 
  3. “If you had to wait and wait and wait, what are we potentially maybe waiting for?
  4. But there are some homes that come to market that you could see yourself living in?” 
  5. “So, if you were to make a move on something against a cash offer, what would be some of the things you could do to make your offer stand out?” 
  6. “Let’s just say, hypothetically, that what happens is interest rates come down, you have a bit more buying power, what do you think’s gonna happen to the number of buyers in the market?” 
  7. “So, it’s gonna get harder. And what do you think might happen to house prices if more people enter the market at a lower interest rate?”
  8. Do you see yourself making more money in the future or less money in the future at your current stage of life?” 
  9. What happens if you don’t manage to buy a house? What’s that gonna mean to you and your family?” 
  10. How certain are you that when you’re making offers, you’re making as strong an offer as you could possibly make?” 
  11. Would it help if we could sit down as a real team—me, you, your wife, and an experienced local lender? And what we could do is we could get into the strongest possible position so, the next time that you see something, you could really play your best cards. And if you have to maybe bid a little more than you’d really like to on that house, you could still have a touch more confidence that you’d have a chance at [standing out] and know that…you’re still going to end up in a positive equity position over the next decade.”
  12. “So, when would be a good time for us to be able to drop around with you and sort that through properly so you were in the strongest buying position possible?” 

Two great takeaways Byron pointed out from this conversation: 

  1. The question of “Do you think you’ll be earning more or less in the future?” — because too many buyers don’t take this into account when making an offer on a home. 
  2. The importance of getting the buyer to that conversation with the lender — because once he’s gotten buyers to talk to a lender about their options, it inevitably led to that buyer moving forward with their plan to buy a home. 

Buyers that have lethargy about ‘There’s nothing out there to buy,’ if you give up as easily as they give up, we just walked into the self-fulfilling prophecy that they’re probably not gonna buy a house. Or they’re gonna move out of the area. And that’s what eventually needs to happen for a lot of these people.

Phil Jones

Final takeaways

One of the biggest takeaways, which Phil summed up toward the end of the livestream is that one way or another, waiting is ultimately the most expensive decision a buyer could make—at least if they’re committed to homeownership.

Because, as already pointed out, clients don’t need to believe it’s the “right” time or the “best” time to buy or sell. It can still be a “good” time or a “decent” time for them to buy or sell. 

That’s where the emotional logic comes in. And that’s why, as Byron puts it, “our language needs to change.” If there are two homes available in your market today, it doesn’t mean there won’t be a third one tomorrow—or a fourth on Thursday. The more you stay in action, the less likely you are to cling to one fixed (and discouraging) idea of the housing market. 

The meetings that lead to no showings are still good meetings… Just do the meeting, get the action because in 48 hours, unbeknownst to anybody, that next house could be on the market.

Byron Lazine

There’s a reason Phil Jones co-authored a book titled, Exactly What To Say, with Chris Smith and Jimmy Mackin. Get your copy if the objection handling examples in this post helped you. You might be surprised at just how helpful this book can be—not just for your business but for every relationship that matters.