Rejection hurts, and we all tend to avoid things in life that hurt. So it shouldn’t surprise you to hear that one of the most common issues that we coach students to overcome is a fear of prospecting that originates from a fear of rejection.

Now let’s qualify rejection. In real estate, it’s not doors being slammed shut in agents’ faces or screaming prospects on the phone — but even something as simple as the word “no” can put a dark cloud on the rest of the day. Over time, that rejection creates enough uncertainty that they find excuses not to prospect.

That’s a problem, though: You’ll never get 100 percent of the deals you prospect for, but you’re guaranteed to miss out on the clients you don’t even try for. Julie and I recently took this on in our radio show, “Real Estate Coaching Radio,” with some advice on how to put this rejection in perspective that just might help you keep going after hearing “no” a few times.

Getting over rejection in real estate


Prospecting is a numbers game. Like I said above, you’ll never get 100 percent of the appointments you go on. The next time you get rejected, knowing your average success rate for appointments might help you realize that you’re one step closer to acceptance.

Knowing your numbers gives you the power. It gives you a longer-term perspective that helps you step outside the emotional rejection right now to focus on working toward acceptance.

What are some numbers worth knowing? Know the contacts-to-appointment ratio and appointments-to-listings taken.

Work these numbers in reverse: If you want 10 listings a month, and maybe half of your appointments turn into listings, then it means you need 20 appointments to generate those listings.

OK, so what about contacts? Well, if only 25 percent of your contacts turn into appointments, and half of your appointments turn into listings, it means you need to reach 80 people a month to generate 10 listings. Your mileage might vary, and, of course, there is a multitude of ways to increase your success rate.

As you can see from the numbers above, it’s going to take a lot of legwork to get you from contacts to listings. So, keep yourself motivated by setting long-term goals that can help you reframe your thinking to cope better with sales rejections.

Instead of thinking about rejection, it’s good to think about your children’s college education, that new boat you want to buy or maybe the money you’d like to donate to a favorite charity. Put those rejections in the context of moving you toward your goals.

Now, as a rule, we tend to learn more from rejection than from success — so always own your rejection. Don’t beat yourself up about it, but use it as a learning opportunity to find ways to avoid the same rejection the next time around. Also, avoid blame associated with the rejection — especially when it comes to the person who rejected you. Maybe they said no today, but they’ll say “yes” to you in the future. Don’t undermine potentially valuable relationships simply on the basis of a temporary emotional letdown.

Also, talk to people who are further down the success path than you. It’s easy to feel as if you’re the only agent facing so much rejection. That’s why it’s critical to reach out to other agents to know you’re not alone. The more we get rejected, the more we tend to isolate and go into our hermit holes. Those times of feeling down are when you most need to pick up the phone. When you reach out and talk to other entrepreneurs, it normalizes your experience.

A few ways to accept the good and reject the bad are:

  • Acknowledge your accomplishments.
  • Keep a gratitude journal.
  • Each night write down the top three or four things you did that day during the day review the list of things in which you’re grateful.
  • Avoid reinforcing rejection by disassociating with negative people, media and situations.

In other words, avoid leeches, attract lilies and keep your head up. We all experience rejection — so don’t dwell on it. They’re not rejecting you — just the opportunity — and keep in mind that they might say “yes” the next time around.

Tim and Julie Harris have over 20 years’ experience in real estate. Learn more about their real estate coaching and training programs at, or tune in to Real Estate Coaching Radio every weekday at

Email Tim Harris.

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