Why occasionally losing business is good

Adversity breeds success. I work with a lot of REALTORS and while it obviously wouldn't be good to constantly lose listings, losing "a" listing on occasion is good because it offers important reminders and wonderful opportunity for growth, for REALTORS and anyone in sales. Twice recently I coached agents who lost a listing. In one case another firm was chosen to list the property and in another, the seller canceled their move shortly after signing the listing agreement.

In both cases it makes complete sense that those agents felt a little bummed out. They generated the lead, set the appointment, prepared for the appointment, did the presentation, took on the goals of the sellers as their own and probably, as all of us have done, spent the commission in their heads! But now, there is no commission from all that work and the emotional roller coaster ride gets a little more intense. Any good coach will tell you, the time spent on the emotional roller coaster is directly proportional to your success in the real estate business and any kind of sales.

Don't be fooled. Top performers get bummed out when they lose a listing, they are human too. However, they have developed the ability to snap back into action much faster than the average REALTOR. Have you heard of Barbara Corcoran on the show Shark Tank? Before Shark Tank she was the founder of Corcoran Group in New York City, a thriving independent real estate brokerage, and I've heard her say repeatedly that her highest earning agents weren't the smartest ones or the ones with the best spheres of influence. Her highest earners were the ones who could take a hit and get right back up.

When you do the work to develop mental toughness and emotional intelligence, you quickly overcome the disappointment of the situation and begin actively looking for the opportunities for growth. In other words, you can take a hit and get back up quickly. Here are some things I covered with those agents to help them grow.


You set a goal at the beginning of the year. This was going to be your best year ever. You were going to double your production in 2016. However you expressed it, you asked for more than you currently have (or you'd be retired!). Most people enthusiastically forget that and narrow their focus down to this one situation. Instead of keeping their focus on where they are going, they allow themselves to dwell on this one event and get stuck. These are the moments you must find a way to refocus on the bigger picture. The next lesson can help you do just that.


Low performers get stuck and narrow their focus because they take everything personally. Instead of learning to deal with the emotion of disappointment, they overanalyze the situation and build stories in their head about what happened and why. This lesson comes from one of my favorite books, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. He writes:

You take it personally because you agree with whatever was said. As soon as you agree, the poison goes through you, and you're trapped in the dream of hell. What causes you to be trapped is what we call personal importance. Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about me. During the period of our education, or our domestication, we learned to take everything personally. We think we are responsible for everything. Me, me, me, always me! Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.


Sometimes people change their mind. The biggest misconception about sales is that we can somehow make people do what they don't want to do. Top performers know that just isn't the case and if someone really doesn't want to move, we shouldn't try to make them AND we really shouldn't waste energy getting upset about it. That's when it's time to get back to lead generation as fast as possible. And when instead of choosing not to move, they choose another brokerage, it's time to take a hard look at your own skill level. Do you ask for the signature at the end of your presentation or do you routinely accept "we want to think about it"? Do you know the difference between a condition, a stall and an objection? Do you know how to handle it when they want to talk to other brokers who will charge a lower commission? Top performers never stop working to improve their basic sales skills. If the answer to any of those questions is no, find a coach fast.

Recently I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about Serena Williams; how after she won a match at last year’s US Open she immediacy went to a practice court and worked on her serve for an hour and a half in the hot sun. Even when she wins Serena works to improve, and occasionally when she loses a match, she gets right back up. So wherever you are and whatever you sell, the next time you take a hit, find a way to get right back up. Even if you’ve never heard of me before you can reach out — I’ll help you back up.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please hit the heart button so it’s more likely others will see it.