Real Estate

New Agents: How You Handle Rejection Can Make Or Break You

People have all sorts of reasons for choosing another agent, and rejection is just part of the job. New agents need to understand and learn how to move past this fast. Here’s why.

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Fear of rejection can really hold new real estate agents back. Unfortunately, newbies hear the word “no” often. People have all sorts of reasons for choosing one agent over another. It isn’t always personal, but a lot of times, it feels personal.

Sometimes there isn’t anything an agent could have done differently to win a client’s business. Throughout my real estate career, agents have told me about the time their best friend decided to work with someone else and how that hurt.

Being rejected is a common experience, right along with being avoided. Real estate agents just don’t talk about it. Maybe your son or daughter of best friend or mother decided to go with another agent. That can feel like a low blow, but it even happens to the very best agents.

Here are five lessons we can learn from being rejected:

  1. Not everything is about you. People have reasons for making choices that have nothing to do with you.
  2. Friendships are more valuable than a commission check, and they should be preserved if at all possible.
  3. It is alright to have a pity party and maybe even mourn over losing a piece of business, but keep it short, and move on.
  4. Doing a great job does not entitle agents to repeat business.
  5. Every agent will meet people who don’t like him or her.

Be ready for it. Your own mother may move without your help or advice. Also, be willing to lend an ear and be supportive when one of your colleagues goes through this.

I’ll never forget the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I saw the for-sale sign in front of a close friend’s house. We had been friends for 25 years. She listed her home with a friend of her daughter’s without ever even letting me know she was planning a move.

At the time, she believed that the daughter’s friend needed the business a lot more than I did because she was just starting out. She had been given advice that she should not list her house with a friend, but apparently, it was alright to list with her daughter’s friend.

Sometimes, close friends and relatives will avoid you so they don’t have to discuss real estate with you. It is possible to lose a friend or two just by getting a real estate license. (Truth time: They weren’t really your friends in the first place — you just didn’t know it.)

Once, a friend of mine worked with another agent because her husband didn’t like me. Some of it had to do with my assertiveness and willingness to share my expertise. He mostly didn’t agree with me and felt that I had too much influence over his wife. There isn’t anything that I could have done differently. Our friendship didn’t survive the experience.

Your mother may be so impressed with the postcards from a local real estate company that she may call the number on the card, and before you know it, she is working with a junior agent from a big team. Seriously, this has happened.

There are times when the listing appointment seemed successful, but someone else got the business. Each homeowner has many highly qualified agents to choose from and can only work with one at a time. The more agents there are, the more choices they have.

It takes a while to understand that being a real estate agent isn’t about selling houses; it is more about getting clients to sign contracts that will let us represent them. It is about prospecting almost constantly.

Never lose sight of the fact that everyone has family members and friends who have real estate licenses, and while you are reading this, they are trying to convince your past clients to work with them.

This reminds me of another thing that no one tells new real estate agents. Even though a large percentage of homebuyers say they would work with the same agent again, a much lower percentage of people actually do work with the same agent.

If the agent keeps in touch, the past clients may still end up working with someone else. Keep in mind that even though you did a stupendous job, that doesn’t mean anyone owes you another transaction. People have all sorts of reasons for choosing another agent.

People will choose the most convenient agent. Sometimes that’s the agent at the model home or the open house. They just want to see the house and really don’t care how they get in or who writes the offer.

People just don’t work around thinking about their real estate agent. I can’t remember anything about the salesperson I worked with the last time I bought a car. I usually choose the car, and then I figure out where to buy it. I’m not loyal to any brand or dealership. It is all about me and what kind of a car I want.

Rejection is part of the job. Working in 100-percent commissioned sales isn’t for everyone. It is for those who learn to say “next” like they mean it and move on.

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

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