5 Fast Tips for Overcoming Failure in as a New Real Estate Agent

How to Overcome Failure in Real Estate

Overcoming Failure in as a New Real Estate Agent

Failure in real estate is a hard pill to swallow. You put so much work into securing the listing or building trust with a buyer and they go another direction. The seller lists with another agent and the buyer walks into an open house and buys through the listing REALTOR. What gives? Failure is part of real estate and, to be honest, it shouldn’t even be called failure. Failure has a negative connotation and what we are dealing with her is not negative, it’s just learning, growing, and practice.

In this post, you will learn how to overcome failure as a new real estate agent.

As a new real estate agent, there can be a lot riding on that one buyer or seller. Your commission tied to that transaction is likely a larger check than you have seen in previous jobs, and you may still be playing catch up with startup expenses in real estate. When that client says, “we are going with another agent,” it stings and you may really need the income.

Whatever you do, not give up. Success belongs to those that are willing to persevere through the challenging times, and, believe me, every agent goes through this.

Why Did This Happen To Me?

Being a real estate agent is a social job, but it can feel quite isolating at times. When we lose a client or a listing, we can be stuck with your own thoughts and not surrounded by a team of people to help you dust off the dirt and let you know that this happens to every REALTOR.

Every agent out there has lost a listing, client, or lead. I have built up a business that I am proud of but I still lose clients every single year. Know that it happens to everyone and probably more frequently than you would think.

Social medial lends itself to showcasing everyone’s highlights. Rarely do you see an agent posting about the listing they just lost or the client that just fired them. Not that this would be good business practice but if every agent shared their struggles, you would see that this happens to everyone in the real estate industry.

It’s not just you! Every agent loses clients and listing, but it’s not about not failing, it’s about how you respond when it does happen.

Personally, I have had my fair share of large failures: failed businesses, fired by clients, lost many listings, had buyers use other agents, complete flop on huge marketing campaigns, also clients have sworn at me, screamed at me, and I think one tried to hit me with their car at one point.

I am very happy with the business that I’ve built but it doesn’t come without a lot of failure. 

If you never lose a client, then you probably aren’t pushing yourself as hard as you could

Avoid Catastrophizing and Rumination

Tell me if this sounds familiar: “I lost a listing so I’m a bad real estate agent, I’m not going to be able to make it in this industry, so I’m going to have to take some other job, but I hate every other job out there and they don’t pay enough, therefore, I’m going to be forced out of my house and I’ll need to live in my car begging for money.”

This is one of the most common responses to failure: catastrophizing. You take the failure and run down a rabbit hole of failures.

Another common issue with small failures is rumination. You can’t stop thinking about losing that client. It’s all you can think about.

If you catch yourself in these mindsets, understand that failure is not final and let it go. These thoughts should be stopped in their tracks as they do not serve you.

These are just automatic responses to failure, and you need to not let the automatic response win. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is my favorite way to stop these thoughts and reframe them.

Everything is Practice

Overcoming failure is all about mindset. As a new real estate agent or experienced REALTOR, you should always be striving to have a Growth Mindset. This mindset knows that life is about continues and never-ending improvement. Those with a Growth Mindset see failure as an opportunity to learn and understand that life is all about practice.

As real estate agents, we can put too much pressure on ourselves at each meeting and with each client. Let go of the thought that the game is on the line with every meeting, treat every situation, call, meeting, and presentation as practice.

When you do this, you begin to praise the effort you put in your fear of rejection starts to fade away.

If it’s all practice, then losing the client is just an opportunity to learn and you are off to the next practice situation!

Learn from Failure

Of course, if you fail in your business it is an opportunity for you to learn. If you are starting up your real estate career, “you may not know what you don’t know.” Sometimes, you just need to fail to learn from you mistakes.

The best ways I find you can learn from your failure is:

1) Debrief – Conduct a debrief meeting with yourself and ask yourself the tough questions. Where did I drop the ball? What would have caused me to succeed? How can I be more prepared next time?

2) Ask for Feedback – Most of the time, we are scared to ask the client why it didn’t work for them. Don’t be! I typically ask the following, “in the interest of always improving, can you let me know where I fell short? I fully respect your decision and I always want to be making strides to improve.”

Take what you hear/find out seriously but don’t take it personally. Stay objective and think from a business perspective how you can improve.

Failure with learning can be one of the most important parts to real estate business growth.

Become Antifragile

The concept of antifragility can completely change the way you look at failure and it will help you become stronger and more resilient.

Being antifragile means the stressor or challenge actually makes your stronger. It’s not about being immune to pain or failure. It’s about become stronger from failure.

For example, take working out: you lift weights and your muscle tissue actually breaks down. However, with post workout rest, you become stronger. This is antifragile.

If you experience failure in real estate you can treat it as an opportunity to build your antifragile muscle. The pain of failure will hurt. If you are working on your antifragility then you can focus on this pain making you stronger and more resilient versus just “getting over it.”

Talk about an opportunity to grow professionally and as a person!

You need to have stressors to grow. You can buy the book Antifragile here.


Overcoming failure is just part of being a real estate agent. Clients will leave and you will lose listings in your career. It’s going to happen.

Instead of fixating on the negative, understand this happens to everyone, avoid catastrophizing, treat everything as practice, learn from the failure, and become antifragile.

Using these strategies will help you quickly overcome failure in real estate and you will be shifting your mindset back to the positive before you know it.

Sources: 5 Ways to Overcome Failure and Achieve your Goals, 5 Ways to Make Peace with Failure, Antifragile

Podcast Transcript

[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to Rev Real Estate School. The podcast with quick tips and actionable advice to help you sell more real estate in today's world. Moreover, now your host Michael Montgomery.

[00:00:11] Hello and welcome back to Rev Real Estate School. I'm your host Michael Montgomery. Today we are talking about overcoming failure in real estate. Now failure in real estate is just part of our careers. It will happen to everybody. We will lose the client lose the listing, and it shouldn't necessarily be called failure because with these five tips that we're going to jump into today you can turn that failure around completely.

[00:00:39] It is a hard pill to swallow in real estate. Often we have much income wrapped into one client or one listing. So losing that one client that one listing is not so much like losing a sale where it could be a 20 dollar sale or something like that. It can be income for us for a month if not more so it can be a little bit more challenging, and it can sit with us for a little bit longer in real estate. So having some strategies in place to overcome failure is crucial.

[00:01:10] Let's jump into the first tip so first off you may be asking why did this happen to me. Now we are in a social job we are our career is built around talking to people. However, when we are out there in the world there are many aspects of real estate that are done just in our minds or in front of our computers and we're not around other people. Moreover, oftentimes when we experience failure we feel it most when it's quiet. We're at home or we're working and we don't really have a team unless you're working with a team you don't necessarily have a team of people that can help bring your spirits back up. So we end up having this thought of why did this happen to me. Now let me tell you I have had a ton of failures in the real estate industry and outside of the real estate industry. It happens to absolutely everybody. But oftentimes we're comparing ourselves and a lot of this has to do with social media. We're comparing ourselves to someone else's highlight reel. We look at other realtors that maybe are putting up signs or they're showing that they've just put a client into a new home on Instagram and we're comparing ourselves to that. Now the thing is is everybody goes through this. Everybody gets fired. Everybody gets let go at one point or another in real estate. And if you haven't if you haven't lost a client then you probably aren't pushing yourself hard enough. You may just be working with your closest family or something like that. And if you think you're the only one that is experiencing failure feel free to go to the show notes for this episode I have linked up some of my favorite failures that I've had to deal with and that I've gone through. So it happens to everybody.

[00:02:52] Number two if you find yourself catastrophizing or ruminating you want to nip this in the bud and get rid of it quickly. So catastrophizing sounds something like this, "I lost the listing so I'm a bad real estate agent. I'm not going to be able to make it in this industry. I'm going to take some other job but I hate every other job out there, and they don't pay well enough. Therefore I'm going to be forced out of my house. I'm going to be living in my car and I going to be begging for money." So that's catastrophizing you've taken something just losing a listing and turned it into you're going to be begging for money. The other negative piece that can come from this is rumination. So again coming back to that first point where oftentimes in real estate yes it's social. But we also have a lot of time to ourselves during that downtime and when we're on our own sometimes we can ruminate on these negative things that have happened or these failures and we can just be overly conscious of them and instead of letting them go. So these are two things that you do want to avoid. I'd recommend cognitive behavioral therapy if you are looking to overcome some of these sorts of thoughts. What it does is you're stopping these automatic thoughts as soon as they come up you're stopping them and then you're shifting them because these are just automatic thoughts that are automatically coming.

[00:04:21] Number three everything is practice. So you've probably heard me say this before but instead of thinking of everything as the big show and you have to land the listing and you have to get the buyer just treated all as practice. This is all about having that growth mindset that mindset that supports continuous and never ending improvement with the growth mindset. You see failure as an opportunity to learn and understand that life is just all about practice. As you're going through life and if you do fail in real estate it's just practice. It's not the end of the world. So when you do this you start to praise that effort which I know you've heard that before you're praising the effort and you're putting the fear of rejection away which moves us into our at this point. If you're treating it all as practice then if you do lose a client. This is just an opportunity to learn and practice for the next situation. So make sure that you do learn and I do this in two different ways. When I do lose a client or something goes wrong there are two things that I really want to do. Number one is a debrief. So I'm going to sit down with myself with a pen piece of paper and I'm going to ask myself those tough questions right. Where did I drop the ball? What would have caused me to be successful in this situation? How can I be more prepared next time? I'm debriefing I'm having the tough conversations with myself or with somebody on my team. Next, number two is ask for feedback so we may be a little bit concerned to ask the seller or the buyer for feedback why they went another direction but it can be very very important. And not only that when a client sees you asking for feedback just because they listed with somebody else does not mean they're not going to come back to you if that doesn't end up working. And if they interviewed three or four agents and you're the only one that asks for feedback you've got to think that you'll probably be at the top of their list if they're listening was to expire and they were to go another direction. So I simply say something like this, "just in the interest of always improving Can you let me know where I fell short and always like you know I fully respect your decision. I just want to make strides to always improve." Those two things debrief and ask for feedback.

[00:06:40] Next and last one which is probably my favorite is the concept of becoming anti fragile so anti fragile is not just being fully resilient to anything anti fragile is when a stressor happens or when something occurs you actually become stronger so you can think of it like working out or lifting weights and you tear down that muscle tissue and then when you rest in post workout you actually become stronger the muscle actually rebuilds itself. By taking on the stress of lifting weights you're actually becoming anti fragile you're becoming stronger. It's not that you're just impervious to the pain it's that with the stress you actually grow. In real estate if you do experience a failure this is an awesome awesome opportunity to work on becoming anti fragile when something happens you can look at it and you can say even if at the end of the day you did your debrief you asked for your feedback and there's nothing you could have done differently. There's still an opportunity for you to grow and build your anti fragility. So how do you do this? You Just it's more of a mindset switch than anything but you're looking at it and you're understanding that look this is a stressor and I'm going to learn and grow from this stressor and that's it. That's all you really need to do to become stronger and more anti fragile. I'll have the book anti fragile linked up in the show notes is definitely worth a read because I'm oversimplifying it here but just the concept of the stress and the failure and the pain becoming and making you stronger versus actually tearing you down and that's what anti fragile is all about and we do need to have that as real estate agents and to grow with that.

[00:08:26] Thank you very much for listening to this episode I really appreciate it. Remember you can always ask a top producer anything all you have to do rate interview the show head over to our website and let us know where you did that. And top producer we'll give you a call and you can chat about anything you'd like. Thanks so much for listening and we will see you in the next episode.

[00:08:43] This episode of Rev Real Estate School it's come to a close. Thank you for tuning in. We'll see you back here for the next lesson