Would you be willing to walk into Krispy Kreme donuts and ask the woman at the counter to rearrange the donuts into the shape of the Olympic rings? Would you walk up to a police officer and ask if you can drive his patrol car? How about knocking on a stranger’s front door and asking permission to play soccer in his backyard?
On a professional level, does knocking on doors, negotiating face-to-face or having someone tell you “no” terrify you? If you’re ready to beat your fear and become rejection-proof, Jia Jiang’s book “Rejection Proof” can show you how.
Jiang documents his 100-day journey through rejection in the book. This is a must-read for any real estate professional. It has great lessons for your business, and it’ll also help you to cope with the rejections you encounter in everyday life.
Failure vs. rejection
“When we fail at something, such as a business venture or a career, it feels unfortunate but understandable and often tolerable because it could be due to a host of factors,” Jiang said in his book. “In fact, entrepreneurs love to tell and hear stories about failure because those let downs are often stepping-stones toward eventual success.”
In contrast, “Rejection involves another person saying no to us, often in favor of someone else, and often face-to-face…When we experience rejection, we are left with two unhealthy choices. If we believe we deserved the rejection, we blame ourselves and get flooded with feelings of shame and ineptitude. If we believe the rejection is unjust or undeserved, we blame the other person and get consumed by feelings of anger and revenge.”
This is part of the reason why when someone tells you, “Don’t take it personally” or “Be tough and move on” after you experience rejection, it does little to help you cope with rejection. In fact, Jiang maintains that it is actually easier to talk about failure as opposed to talking about rejection.
Five ways to rejection-proof your real estate business
What does it take to lessen the negative effects of rejection? Jiang’s journey shows that it might be easier and more fun than you realize.
1. Laughter defuses the pain associated with rejection.
In terms of your physical response to social rejection, it is identical to your response to physical trauma. The warfare against rejection is not just psychological; it’s biological and rooted in our DNA.
One strategy that lessens physical pain also works to cope with rejection. Robin Dunbar’s research shows that pain thresholds increase when people watch comedy. Paul Pearsall’s research found that laughing a 100 times a day was a powerful force for warding off cancer and heart disease.
In each case, it’s due to the release of endorphins. Endorphins relieve the physical part of the pain. They also reduce anxiety. If you have ever defused a tense or unhappy situation with laughter, you know how powerful this approach can be.
2. Ask “why” before “goodbye.”
When Jiang first began his journey, he scuttled off the moment someone told him no. He then decided to try a different strategy. When he asked a stranger if he could plant a peach rosebush in the man’s yard, the man turned Jiang down.
At that point, Jiang asked, “Why?”
The man explained that he didn’t like flowers in his yard. On the other hand, the woman across the street would probably be delighted to receive the rosebush. This was exactly the case.
By politely asking why, Jiang received a referral that appreciated his gift. Consequently, the next time you encounter a no, politely ask why.
3. When you receive a no, ask for something less.
Jiang went to McDonald’s and asked for a McGriddles sandwich in the afternoon. The woman serving him couldn’t help him because the machine that cooked the eggs and sausage had already been cleaned.
Jiang shifted gears and asked, “Can you make me something like a McGriddles?” She was able to serve him a griddlecake with cheese.
Jiang explained that the McGriddles moment taught a powerful third way to cope with rejection: retreating, reassessing and trying a new approach.
The secret for your business is that when you experience a rejection, try asking for a lesser request or asking from a different angle. For example, if a seller turns down one of the terms in your offer, ask if there is a different concession that he would make to move the negotiation forward.
Robert Caldini’s book “Influence” outlines what makes this approach is so powerful: people don’t want to feel like jerks and are much less likely to say no to a second request.
4. Collaborate, don’t contend.
Jiang said, “Arguments are a magnet for rejection,” and “Arguing turns potential collaborators into enemies.” To shift this pattern, rather than arguing with a client who disagrees with you, make it clear that he or she has the freedom to say no.
Look for a way to collaborate with the individual. For example, if you receive a low offer on one of your listings and your sellers are livid, explain that the sellers always have the right to say no. Next, ask them to collaborate with you to come up with a counteroffer that would work for them.
5. Switch up, don’t give up.
Sometimes, no matter what you do, the only response you will receive will be no. Continued persistence would only make the situation worse.
Jiang said, “Before deciding to quit or not to quit, step back and make the request to a different person, in a different environment, or under a different circumstance.”
A classic example would be the seller who just listed his or her property and rejects your buyer’s low offer. If your buyers are still interested eight weeks later and the seller’s property hasn’t sold, their different circumstances might lead them to accept the offer.
The next time you encounter rejection, tap into your rejection toolbox. Although you might not get exactly what you expected or wanted, what you do get will almost always be better than walking away and feeling rejected.
Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Learn about her training programs at www.RealEstateCoach.com/