Listen in on this engaging Wisdom Session with Karen Stone of Engel & Völkers of Park City, and Laine Kostegian, and Julie Eccleston of Rocket Mortgage, moderated by Debra Trappen.
In today's competitive marketplace, understanding and effectively responding to objections from both buyers and sellers is essential to helping your clients confidently move forward and to building a sustainable business. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting in the industry, this session promises to be a valuable resource for anyone looking to enhance their negotiation skills and close deals with finesse. Our guests will share real-world examples and practical advice, ensuring you leave this discussion with the knowledge and confidence to handle objections gracefully.
Get ready to learn how to transform client concerns into opportunities for them to achieve their financial goals while maintaining trust and transparency.
Highlights of the aswers shared by each guest are below.
Q1: Please share who you are and the leadership journey to your role today.
Laine Kostegian On behalf of RKT, I’m a relationship broker for real estate professionals seeking to partner with the company in a handful of ways. As a human, I’m passionate about learning, simplifying complicated things, genuine human connection, and being a consistent, positive light.
Karen Stone I am a dually licensed Realtor selling in Park City and New York City since March 2008. I have been through many cycles of real estate markets and am so excited to be joining you all today. Oh, and since I know it’ll come up, I am also a 2 time graduate of the Manhattan Comedy School with a focus on Stand Up comedy and pity laughs.
Julie Eccleston Thank you for having me! I am an Executive Loan Officer with ROCKET Mortgage celebrating my 16th season with the organization. Through my time with ROCKET, I’ve served as a loan officer, an underwriter, and a Senior Director of a retail purchase team, and am over the moon to be back working with realtor partners and clients to help make homeownership happen.
Q2: What are the most common objections you encounter in your role, and why do you think these objections arise so frequently?
Karen Stone Whether cash buyers or those financing, buyers all expect the market to crash. They see prices decreasing on the MLS search and they think the market is crashing. The story they aren’t reading is what the prices were BC and AC (before Covid and after Covid). They think “crash” and they think 2008. None of us can predict the future, but they don’t seem to realize that the real estate market was in a completely different place with inventory, interest rates, the job market, etc before and during the recession. I’ve been through so many of these cycles in NYC and in PC that I know that things won’t stay like this for forever. With certainty in the economy and with our elected officials people make decisions. It literally never fails, but we have to remember that many of the buyers we are working with today didn’t experience the crash, they know it was a traumatic moment in time. It’s like working with a NYC buyer who lived there pre-9/11 and post 9/11. The younger buyers, who make up a majority of the buyers, believe that the sky is falling, and the news outlets aren’t doing anything to suppress the concerns.
Julie Eccleston Such a great question - the biggest hurdle I face for homeowners is affordability and FOMO. In this economic climate it presents itself with the objection that rates are too high / housing prices are too high / I’m going to wait for “the crash”. For 2 years we experienced out of this world low rates which really were a bi-product of what our world was going through and it was easy to slip into thinking that was the norm. As interest rates are coming back to normalized levels (avg rate since 1970 is 7.75%) plus the cost of housing rising it is hard to not have FOMO when looking at housing and as if you missed out on an opportunity. Who wouldn’t want to create a Delorean and go back to buy Apple stock!
Laine Kostegian My role is less client-facing and more agent feedback about online/national lenders and rkt… let’s just say it’s a mixed bag. Most commonly: rkt is awful; i heard you never close on time, your pre approvals are garbage, there aren’t humans that work there it’s just a machine, y’all aren’t local…. These objections come up for 2 main reasons - first - we’re wildly misunderstood in the agent community and it’s totally on us, we’ve always marketed to clients, not to agents & haven’t made it clear how the real estate community can use RKT as an advantage for your business.. Second- a bad experience, or rumor of a bad experience leaves a nasty taste in your mouth. Try going back to a hair stylist after they mess up… thanks but no thanks. We’re historically a refinance machine, and until recent years haven’t given the right resources to our agent partners in purchase transactions.
Q3: Please share a specific example of an objection you have overcome. We’ve talked about Active Listening on the show many times… Did you employ that skill? What other strategies did you use?
Julie Eccleston Waiting for rates/housing to come down - I always start with a perception baseline and seek to understand. There is SO MUCH news and noise out there from so many sources so my go to phrase is always “thank you for sharing your perspective, if you don’t mind me asking - what do you see that will cause RATES / HOUSING to go down in the next 6 months to a year?” I also never disagree with a client, I simply ask - Do you mind if I share what I am seeing? RATES: There are a lot of things going on in our financial markets right now and if we look at the projections from key players and decision makers, it looks like we are going to be in this rate range for a while. I agree that eventually they will go down - but I don’t agree that it should drive your buying decision and here is why - there are SO MANY FOLKS who feel the same way you do who aren’t having the same candid convos as you and I and when rates DO eventually drop they will be flooding back into the market like they did in 2020 / 2021 - that means the same house you can buy today for $500,000 will be in multiples and over ask / waived inspections. So even at a lower rate, chances are your payment will be similar or you are going to be priced out of an opportunity. HOUSING PRICES: Did you know that there are 38% less homes on the market than there was in 2019? There are also 48M millennials who are looking to become homebuyers within the next 12 - 18 months. Do you remember those graphs from 10th grade economics? Who knew we were going to use them in real life! But housing right now is all based on supply and demand. There are a lot of people who want to be homeowners but not enough homes for them to buy which means until there are more homes to buy prices are going to stay steady or higher for quite some time.
Laine Kostegian I love Miller Heiman sales training. It is really b2b focused so i think it’s overlooked in direct to consumer sales but a few of my fav techniques are from their practice - their meeting plan- to prepare all conversations including mapping out how to respond to expected objections!!! - what you’re trying to learn, where you dig in, are the right people even included etc. golden silence - take a deep breath before responding. It’s establishing power and allows you time to formulate your next move. Best and minimum outcomes - Mapping out a scale of the outcomes so not reaching your top 1 isn’t necessarily failure it’s truly a win.
Karen Stone I’ve been channeling a lot of Phil M Jones lately. “This may not be for you… how would you feel if… imagine if… we have three options…” My ideal scenario happened in January when, without prompting the buyer, she said to me “I know the market is going to shift and inventory is going to get tighter and demand is going to increase, and we want to get into the market before that happens.” Hallelujah! Then I have another buyer who’s really not sure about where she wants to be, whether it’s in Park City or abroad, and whether she’ll rent or will buy. She admitted being in analysis paralysis. I’m trying with the Phil M Jones technique -”how would you feel is the home you saw today was $x more in a year?” “How would you feel if it was $x less in a year?” “Imagine if you bought now and got to move along with your dreams of traveling in the immediate future.” “How would you feel if you never got to travel because you were waiting for the market to soften.” Of course I listen for the clues. If she talks about traveling or complains about the stress of the home search. Is it really the home search or is it the fact that a previous Realtor dropped the ball and she missed out on opportunities and she is upset that she didn’t get in when prices were lower. We’ve got to ask the questions and then shut up! The one who asks the most questions is in control.
Q4: What objections can be viewed as opportunities rather than obstacles? Could you give an example of an objection that, when addressed effectively, led to a more significant sale or a stronger client relationship?
Laine Kostegian literally all of them. Every objection is an opportunity to learn more about the human, their business and their psychology. I have had this situation happen multiple times, I’ll have an agent/broker/brand leader shut me down immediately on working together, because they already have a lending partner. I’ll get inquisitive on what “lending partner” really means and it’s a variety, but in short - i lean in to dig a little deeper on what that lender is doing great, and where they might be missing out. Almost every time i hear, “i love them but they don’t have a great X product” and it just so happens that we can fill the gap and now we have something to work towards.
Karen Stone I think one of the biggest challenges with home buyers and sellers today is that they have so many things working against them once they make the decision to buy or sell. Would be seller’s don’t want to lose their interest rates. Would be seller’s don’t know where they’ll go because inventory is so low. Buyers want to buy but have limited options because the seller’s wont move. It’s like the pipe is clogged. As a realtor it’s up to us to come up with creative ways to unclog the pipe and recommend solutions. For the seller who has the low rate and is hesitant to give it up, I often will show examples of what could happen if they chose to hold on, wait for rates to drop again, and then get into the market to buy. If they have a bonafide buyer, they could always try to negotiate a lease back while they look for other properties to buy. For the would be seller who wants to buy and doesn’t need to finance, we discuss the true costs. Sell now, lose your rate. Wait to buy until rates come down when more buyers flood the market and prices go up, yet rates come down. And then there are always sellers who are putting off selling or buyers who put off buying and put their dreams on hold. Sometimes just talking through the non-monetary costs of waiting helps the buyer or seller to make a decision. For instance, buying a property in Park City now vs waiting- if you buy now you can get in before ski season. Wait, and you might miss the season and then face more demand in the spring when more inventory hits.
Julie Eccleston To me it is all about SPEED TO THE NEED. Your interest rate matters until you have a 2 bedroom house and your 3rd kid on the way with a teenage son who doesn’t want to share a bedroom with a toddler. Personally, when I hear an objection it is an opportunity to seek to understand what is really going on under the surface. For perspective, about 25 - 30% of my business right now is cash out refinances - whether it is debt consolidation, adding additions, buying second homes … I bring this up as it shows that people are still making moves, both literally and figuratively, and when you are the one who peels away and asks a few more questions you will be the one to find the NEED.
Q5: What advice do you have for when we encounter objections that are emotionally charged or rooted in deeply held beliefs? How can we navigate these situations with empathy and sensitivity?
Laine Kostegian it’s like dating… not everyone is meant for you, which is more than okay. Consume the failure fast and move on. It’s sucks in the moment, but you’re going to be better off without them anyways. There’s more business out there that isn’t going to cost you your mental health.
Karen Stone I truly believe that we never know what someone is carrying in their invisible backpack. Sometimes decisions get made out of fear or fear of missing out. If we keep asking questions and listening it’s possible that the client will give us some perspective. My other attitude is that we as the professionals cannot be more attached to the outcome than our client. Even with all of the objections handlers, sometimes our clients just aren’t ready or have to get through something, and we have to let them. We are not performing life saving surgery here.
Julie Eccleston #1 seek to understand and once you do, honor their perspective. I’ve been a banker for 16 years and, in full transparency, iit took me a good couple years in my early 20s to truly embrace the fact that we can never 100% know where someone is coming from and the best thing I can do is listen, present the opportunity if available, ask for the business and don’t burn the bridge.
Q6: Final words of wisdom. Please include links to books and podcasts you recommend. Where possible, please highlight female authors and podcasters.
Karen Stone Fellow WomanUp member Renee Funk is a huge inspiration and she is a Exactly What to Say by Phil M Jones Guide. I have her book and all of Phil’s books.
Julie Eccleston I really enjoy the books CAPTIVATE and CUES by Vanessa Van Edwards which discusses how we communicate and how to pick up on some of those unspoken cues and clues which allow you to dig a little deeper. Big fan of STORIES THAT STICK by Kindra Hall and am currently re-reading “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday.
Laine Kostegian Podcast wise: I’ve been listening to “All in” it’s four guys… but they are hosting a long form series, hosting presidential candidates in the running for the 2024 election. I’m learning a LOT as I’m slowly preparing myself for an election year. Reading wise- i can’t get over Lessons in chemistry by Bonnie Garmus - it’s coming out as a series on Apple TV next month. It’s just a lovely representation of the female, and motherhood experience of a super smart female in an male dominated world.
Additional Resources Shared:
Check out the Rocket Card here: https://www.rocketcard.com
Check out the Rocket Money app here: https://www.rocketmoney.com
Connect with our Guests on LinkedIn:
Connect with Laine Kostegian, Strategic Sales Director at Rocket Mortgage: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lainekostegian
Connect with Julie Eccelston, Executive Loan Office at Rocket Mortgage: https://www.linkedin.com/in/julie-eccleston
Connect with Karen Stone, Real Estate Broker in UT + NY: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karen-stone-2378685