Things That Won’t Happen When You Get Rejected

Let’s be honest. Rejection can suck.

From the person who said ‘No,’ when you asked them to dance at your 7th grade school dance, to the university that said your marks just weren’t high enough, to the dozens of job interviewers who said, ‘You just don’t have enough experience…’, I think we can all agree being turned down really stinks. That dropping feeling in your stomach, the flush of embarrassment, the cold sweat that hits you, not to mention the even more devastating feelings of failure and even resentment. Just thinking about it makes me feel….icky.

Marty McFly in Back to the Future: “What if I send in the tape and they don't like it? I mean, what if they say I'm no good? What if they say, "Get outta here, kid. You got no future"? I mean, I just don't think I can take that kind of rejection. Jesus, I'm starting to sound like my old man!”

It turns out, though, that rejection can be a fantastic tool to use in your favour. Hear me out; this is a tough one for a lot of us – in particular for real estate sales people. We hear rejection A LOT. This is such a competitive business that you’re bound to hear a ton of rejections. They already know a REALTOR®, their sister works with a competitor, their second cousin is married to a Realtor (maybe, they can’t really remember, but they’ll let you know…honest). When you think about it, real estate isn’t something members of the general public think about every day. After all, most people only move every ten years or so. When you think about it, most people simply won’t be interested in working with you because of a ton of factors, 99.9% of which have nothing to do with you or your service offering.

Let me say that again: Rejection in real estate almost never has anything to do with you, the Realtor. It’s a matter of timing. At the very best, 1 in 10 people is thinking of making a move. Of those, many already have good relationships with other professional Realtors. So really, what are the odds of you finding the one that might be interested in working with you on the first try? Pretty slim, right?

‘No’ is your friend! ‘No’ means you’re getting closer to a ‘Yes’. Embrace the ‘No’! A ‘no’ is not a rejection of you, the person. Don’t take it personally, because it really isn’t about you – it’s about them. In fact, I’d make the argument that your fear of rejection is actually selfish.

Yeah, I said it. You’re being selfish. You’re assuming that rejection is either a personal attack on you, or your profession.

Let’s say you’re having a friend over for the afternoon. You get thirsty and think, ‘I could go for a cup of tea, I wonder if my friend would like one too?’ If they don’t want a cup of tea when you offer it to them, you don’t throw your hands up and give up on being a good friend. You don’t assume that you must have done something wrong or that you’re no longer likable. No, you shrug it off and next time you’re making tea, what do you do? You offer your friend a cup of tea.

The timing was wrong; they simply didn’t want a cup of tea right then. The rejection of the cup of tea was about them, not you. It’s the same with real estate, granted the stakes are a little higher than a cup of tea, but you get the point.

So, what WON’T happen when you get rejected in real estate?                                           

  1. You won’t die. Silly? Maybe, but I know some sales people that would rather die than prospect and be rejected.
  2. You won’t fail as a professional. A simple rejection of your service offering is not an indication that you will never succeed. In fact, learn to see every rejection as a stepping stone to the eventual ‘Yes’.
  3. You won’t starve. Again, every rejection is one step closer to a positive response. Hear enough rejection and the positives will also accumulate – meaning more listings, more committed buyers, and more closed transactions.
  4. You won’t get into fist fights. This has actually been given to me as an excuse to not prospect! Somehow, some sales people have this belief that if they ‘bother’ people by calling on them, knocking on their door, or other contact method, that the recipient of the communication might actually physically attack them! I’m telling you honestly, I have knocked on hundreds of doors, introduced myself to hundreds of strangers at networking events and otherwise just put myself out there to meet new people and not once, in over 20 years, has anyone ever threatened me, let alone actually attacked me. It just doesn’t happen.
  5. You won’t get fired. If one of our sales reps tells me a story about prospecting and getting rejected on a regular basis, not only will I not ask them to leave, I’ll applaud their efforts. I won’t think less of you for being rejected, quite the opposite!

So get over yourself and learn to love hearing ‘No!’ It really is one of the greatest lessons you’ll learn about a career in real estate. Tragically, it’s often never learned and many a sales person with fantastic potential has left the business because they never accepted this secret truth and never gave themselves the chance to succeed.

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Doug Lytle

Doug Lytle

Branch Manager
CENTURY 21 United Realty Inc., Brokerage*
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