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November 4, 2019

Share Your Failures

At the start of 2019, I experienced one of my biggest career failures to date. 

Before 2018 ended, I completed all the prep work for an incredible upcoming year. In January, I was pumped with the deals I had, how my team was growing, and the community of people that was helping me take the next steps. I knew 2019 would be amazing. 

But just a couple of weeks into the new year, and I had a conversation with a seller that changed everything.

My Biggest No

It began on one of the rare mornings that I skipped my morning routine. 

I had a listing for a farm, a deal I had been working on for close to five years. I called up the owner to present an offer. The offer was within $50,000 of full asking price, from a legitimate buyer, with the funds  to make the purchase. For a farm worth over one million dollars, which had been sitting on the market for five years, I considered this a solid offer. 

The owner told me, “I’ve told you every day we’ve ever interacted over the last five years, I will not take a penny off my list price.” 

At that moment of the conversation, my tone changed. I was frustrated, and he could hear the change of attitude in my voice. 

Now, this is the exact reason I am so committed to my morning routine. When I take time to be selfish in the morning, I am able to listen more intently, communicate more effectively, and show up as my best self for everyone I work with. None of that happened on this particular day. 

He asked to cancel the contract, and I agreed – it was clear that day we weren’t going to see eye to eye. 

My Loss was someone else’s Gain

The farm came off of the market for about a week, before a new agent put it back on. About three days later, a purchase agreement was signed. A brewery found out about deal I brought the seller, and came in with an offer for full asking price. The new agent made over $150,000 on that deal – for three days of work. 

When I found out, I was sick to my stomach. I lost my composure on that phone call, which lost me the listing days before a better offer came in. 

Why share this failure?

Because every single day as a real estate agent, salesperson, or entrepreneur, you are going to hear NO. 

You are going to hear NO way more often than you hear YES. 

You are going to hear NO so many times, you’ll doubt everything. And that is one of the reasons why over 80% of real estate agents leave the industry within the first five years. 

Because when failure seems like the only possible outcome, it’s easy to walk away. 

Whether you lead a team, are on a team, or even if you are a solo agent, know that every single person in the industry faces their share of failures. Even the people who seem like rockstars, with incredible listings, are hearing no more often than they hear yes. 

All of these people react to their failures differently as well. Some people use their nos as fuel to keep moving forward. Others internalize it, while others develop an attitude. When we start to share our failures with the agents we work with, hearing no becomes a lot less scary. 

By normalizing failures, it’s not quite so disheartening when, say, a brand new agent gets hung up on 50 times on their first day of making calls. Instead, it becomes a point of reflection. What can you take away from all those nos? What did you differently on the calls when you scheduled a listing appointment?

Over time, the nos become just as crucial as the yeses. Because with the nos, we are able to  learn, adjust, and get a little bit better every day.