You can do it. Don’t let the market break your will to do it.

"I don’t know when I have worked so hard for a closing," Orlando Realtor Theresa Blahut told me, then proceeded to explain the issue, which I had trouble following.

"I made call after call because I just knew there was a way to do this, and I would not give up. I owed it to the buyer and seller to solve the problem. I was quite proud of myself," she modestly added.

"I was not going to give up until I got the right answer. I knew there was one. There had to be."

How’s that for a working mantra in today’s real estate market?

Theresa is wife and mother of two children and is a sales trainer and Realtor. She exudes confidence. You get the feeling she will take care of it … whatever it is.

In this market, a "will do" attitude trumps a "can do" one.

We all know unconsciously competent agents who have given up or are about to.

They have fought one too many short-sale battles.

The lesson: If you do not have the answer at your fingertips, keep dialing, clicking, texting, e-mailing and moving through the ever-changing invisible barrier that makes us want to quit, then justify why we did.

No matter what happens, successful agents never lose focus on their need to improve. They don’t quit. They work harder. They do not assume they have arrived. They train. They don’t complain about change. They embrace it.

Give these agents a couple of lemons, and before long they are making lemon pie, lemon cake, lemon cookies and lemonade. Do not ask them how they do it. It just never occurs to them they cannot find a way.

Of course, it is always more comforting when you can blame the situation or another person.

But what if you handed yourself a truckload of lemons in a sales situation? Ever done it?

It happened to me in the most important meetings in my career — on the same day. Once, in front of the executive committee of the largest lender in the Southeast, and later that day in front of committee members and about 400 of their employees.

I was in the running for a consulting position related to distressed condo projects. This was big. Making a good first impression was key, because I knew only one person in the meeting.

Nervous, excited and pathetically clumsy, I was about to make a listing presentation from the pit of hell. The problem began with trying to retrofit my first impression … and ended with my coat on fire.

During the morning meeting introductions, my tie dragged through a cup of coffee, resulting in a stain on my new white shirt about the size of a basketball.

One of the lender’s executives noticed and laughingly asked if I needed a towel. I sat their grinning like a mule eating briars, wondering if the execs would even bother to ask for my business card.

A couple of them could not quit laughing during my presentation, but we got through it. I wanted to flush myself down the nearest toilet for handing myself my own lemon at such an inappropriate time.

On the way home to change shirts, my embarrassment turned to a quiet assurance that something outstanding had happened that morning.

The incident and the ensuing laughter had lowered the walls of sales resistance, and had been replaced by rapport and trust.

We were supposed to meet at the lender’s Christmas party that evening, but I wanted to stay home. I knew going back to the party that the morning events would be recounted, but I felt I had little choice.

They were standing next to one of the buffet tables and immediately commented on the clean shirt. Then the laughter and retelling of the "stained" presentation began. It was awkward, but not nearly as embarrassing as what happened next.

Within seconds it seemed, someone said they smelled smoke. Another pointed to me, and told me that my elbow was over a candle flame and my coat was "smoldering."

From morning slob to social klutz in eight hours.

The place went crazy. The laughter drew bigger crowds and more humiliation. Was it embarrassing? You have no idea.

Did I think I had lost the business? It never entered my mind. Had they not wanted to do business with me, they wouldn’t have been having so much fun at my expense.

Two lemons in one day turned into a bathtub full of lemonade. I got the business. Did I get it because of my skill? No way. Am I the only agent in America that could handle this business? Not by any stretch. So why me?

I only knew one of the members of the five-person committee that morning, but by that evening we all had shared something very special.

Had I not returned for the evening event, maybe they would have awarded the business to the competition.

Had Theresa given up at any stage of her determination to find the answer and to close the sale, would it have closed? No way.

Think about your prospects and where you are with them. Don’t give up. Make one more call, send one more e-mail. Ask one more question.

Can you do it? Yes, you can. Will you do it?

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription