• Getting no for an answer is a normal part of being in sales, and it isn't for wimps or whiners.
  • Some of my friends have a much harder time handling my rejection than I do.
  • Friendships and family relationships are far more important than real estate sales.

Handling rejection and the word “no” takes practice. It is tempting to take it personally, but it is best if we don’t — and it is important to keep in mind that everything isn’t about us.

Everyone knows a real estate agent or is related to one.

Sometimes I’ll see a for sale sign in front of a friend’s house with another agent’s name on it, or I see the home of someone I know or have worked with on the MLS.

Some real estate agents get pretty upset when a family member or past client chooses to work with someone else. Some get upset when they lose any listing to another agent. Their lives are filled with pain and drama just because they feel somehow entitled to business that they did not get.

Competition is fierce; rejection is bitter

In the areas where I like to work, there are hundreds of agents who can do the job and do it well. Competition is fierce, especially now that we are in a seller’s market.

The first experience I had with rejection was when a cousin came into the real estate office I was working in to see another agent. I thought she was coming to see me.

She believed she had to work with the other agent because that agent had the open house in the home that my cousin wanted to buy. She knew I was a real estate agent and never even told me she was looking for a home.

That experience was harsh at the time — but it helped me understand what kind of a mindset I would need if I wanted to succeed in sales.

People do not always make the best choice when choosing among agents. Dual agency doesn’t seem like a wise choice, but it happens all the time.

Sometimes agents are able to “buy” listings by promising to sell a home for more than it will likely sell for. Other times they get the listing because their sales pitch resonated with the seller, and mine did not.

Handling rejection

Sales people are often encouraged to handle rejection or a string of “no’s” by considering their past accomplishments so they can feel good about themselves.

It seems silly to get that wrapped up in rejection and to let it become an emotional thing that we have to get past. Getting no for an answer is a normal part of being in sales, and 100 percent-commissioned sales isn’t for wimps or whiners.

Occasionally, I lose friends because they don’t want to list their home with me. They just stop communicating. I would rather not lose friends just because I have a real estate license, but it happens.

A friend will avoid me rather than tell me that they listed with someone else. They have a much harder time handling my rejection than I do.

Working with a close friend or family member can also create a special kind of hell, and sometimes it is wise for me to say no.

People have their own motivations

At least one of my clients from this year has a close friend who is a real estate agent. I did not know this until after I wrote an offer for her.

She told me that I had done a wonderful job, but if the offer did not work out she would be canceling her contract with me and working with her friend instead.

The sale went through, and the buyer is an example of someone who was very happy with my services but who will not be using them again — no matter how well I keep in touch.

I strongly suspect that her recent purchase will come as a surprise to her friend. I hope they can both get past it.

Not everything in life is about us. Our friends or past clients are not considering our feelings as they go about choosing the best agent to work with. They are instead considering their own needs, as they should.

Sometimes I wonder how my parents’ real estate agent must have felt when they gave all of their business to me instead of him. He was a friend of my mother’s and had worked with them through three transactions. They were always happy with his services.

I tell my children that they should at least consider using my services, but I also let them know that I won’t hold it against them if they choose someone else. I tell them that letting me know that they are working with someone else is the right thing to do.

I would just hate having Thanksgiving dinner all alone because my children and their partners were afraid to tell me that they were working with a competitor.

Friendships and family relationships are far more important than real estate sales. There are always people to work with, but new family members and friends are hard to come by.

Losing a friend because I have a real estate license still hurts, but I don’t dwell on it. Obviously, they did not value our friendship as much as I did.

Clients come and go. I love the word “next,” and I see each day as a new opportunity.

I am always thankful for the business that I have and do not see any value in feeling rejected when I hear the word no or when I am not even given the opportunity to apply for the job.

Teresa Boardman is a Realtor and broker/owner of Boardman Realty in St. Paul. She is also the founder of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com.

Email Teresa Boardman

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