How to Overcome Perfectionism in Real Estate

Excellence vs Perfectionism

How To Overcome perfectionism in business

We all want to succeed in real estate. We strive for excellence while working to always help our clients. We work hard prospecting, working on scripts, and creating Facebook ads and we do this all with a high standard. With having such a high standard, where does perfectionism come into the picture?

Perfectionism can be one of the biggest enemies in entrepreneurship. Perfectionism can lock the real estate agent in indecision and can keep you from moving forward. That is not to say you shouldn’t have a high standard and strive to do things to the best of your abilities. It just means that you can’t let “perfect” get in the way of “great.”

Did you know that the Mona Lisa doesn’t have eyebrows? And Mark Zuckerberg is famous for saying at Facebook they “move fast and break things.”

Now I’m no artist so I’m sure Da Vinci meant to not paint eyebrows on the Mona Lisa. I’m also no Mark Zuckerberg, so maybe Facebook’s focus is not just on moving fast and breaking things, but both of these concepts highlight an important point: not everything needs to be perfect in order to create something amazing.

The common thread in perfectionism is “all-or-nothing” thinking. This is characterized by the thought process that either something is perfect or it is crap. We know logically that this is not the case.

You can host an open house that is “just ok” or you can have a listing presentation that is a 6 out of 10, but when planning and making decisions in real estate, we can get caught in perfectionism.

All or nothing thinking is actually considered a “cognitive disorder.” This isn’t to say that every all or nothing thought is a sign of a slip in your mental health, but it does show that this type of thinking can be a trap and can be quite harmful.

In our real estate agent training, we use the same type of therapy that is used to counteract all or nothing thinking and other mental challenges. We focus on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

With CBT you catch your automatic thought and question in. You challenge the automatic thought. For example, if you say that you “my website is the worst, and I’m never going to get any clients,” we focus on stopping this thought and questing if it has any merit.

Is your website “the worst?” Probably not.

Are you “never going to get any clients?” Probably not.

This thought is not true, nor is it serving you, so let it go.

For real estate agents, perfectionism usually comes up in

  • Launching The Real Estate Agent’s Website

  • Posting The REALTORs Bio

  • Using The Scripts and Dialogs

How To Overcome Perfectionism

You need to let go of the result and start praising the effort. This comes up regularly in our articles. By removing the focus on the result, you remove the dependence on perfection. If your mindset is on praising effort, then perfection doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is the action.

Next, think of everything you do as practice. As a real estate agent, everything is practice. You may not get the listing but it’s not the end of the world. Learn from this and keep moving forward. When you think of real estate as practice and you praise the effort, the need for perfection starts to melt away.

As a real estate agent, you also need to encourage mistakes. This goes hand in hand with thinking of everything as practice. When you encourage mistakes, you are by definition going against perfectionism. You are also increasing the number of repetitions you will make and with more repetitions, you will become better at your job.

Finally, break everything into small tasks. Perfectionism can stop people in their tracks. Especially when you are focused on the overall task. If you need to build your website, you may not get started because the task just seems too large. With your real estate agent bio, you want this to be perfect so you don’t even start. Break the large task into bite-sized pieces and you will eventually finish the tasks. Write one line of your bio. Pick 2 images for your website. Just complete small parts of the whole job.


Perfectionism can get in the way of a real estate agent’s success. The concern with being perfect stops some agents from even starting. If you find yourself getting trapped in indecision due to perfectionism, focus on praising the effort and not the result, think of real estate as practice, encourage mistakes, and break big jobs into small tasks.

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. And now your host Michael Montgomery.


[00:00:11] Hello and welcome to another episode of Rev Real Estate School. My name is Michael Montgomery. Do you struggle getting started on a task or getting a piece of content out there getting your website finished due to perfectionism? Today we are going to learn a couple of very quick tips to overcome perfectionism in real estate.


[00:00:30] First off did you know that the Mona Lisa does not have eyebrows and that Mark Zuckerberg is famous for saying that at Facebook they try to do is move fast and break things. Why am I bringing these two examples up? It's because they are both perfect illustrations of avoiding perfectionism that have led to absolutely amazing things.


[00:00:57] When we think about these very famous things and we think about being the top real estate agent in your city sometimes you think "ok" well that person needs to be perfect. They need to be completely dialed in with their listening presentation, buyer presentation, and all sorts of things like that. And yes that is important definitely important but are they perfect. Are they perfect? If the model Lisa isn't perfect and if Mark Zuckerberg is all about moving fast and breaking things then I think we can also come from a place of avoiding perfectionism.


[00:01:32] The common thread with perfectionism is this "all or nothing" thinking and all or nothing thinking is actually classified as a cognitive disorder. When it comes to mental health that is because this sort of thinking can be so detrimental to how we view the world when we think of the world as either perfect. It has to be perfect or it's total crap either zero or it's 100.


[00:01:57] This sort of thinking traps us and it comes up as real estate agents quite frequently and the way that we train around it is using a form of psychotherapy actually since it is a cognitive disorder. This all or nothing thinking when this starts to come up then we use a therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) used very very frequently within the mental health space. And it's amazing. It's an amazing technique even for business or anything in real estate to just reshape the way that we see the world and reshape the way that we're talking to ourselves. So with that in mind let's talk a little bit more about perfectionism. So with perfectionism and where it comes up in real estate. So like you said off the start website your agent bio. These are two places that I see it quite frequently. Your scripts; so you want to have the perfect script before you're willing to jump on the phone and before you're willing to go out there and make your calls it needs to be perfect for the website before you launch it out there to the world it needs to be absolutely perfect or the agent bio you don't know what to say and you're about us page on your web. So it takes a long time to put that together. So these are just a few examples of where it can play out.


[00:03:08] This is not to say that doing something well is not what we're after of course we're always after doing things well but we're just trying to avoid ourselves being caught in the trap of it's either perfect or it's nothing. So let's talk about how we can best overcome perfectionism if we're starting to see this come up in our real estate career. And for all of us it will probably come up at some point for some of us more than others and that's totally cool. Let's see how we can work through that with these four strategies.


[00:03:37] Number one you've probably heard this before through us is praise effort not result in perfectionism. We can be tying our self-esteem to the result. So instead of being focused on exactly what we want out of what it is that we're doing so let's go to the script example instead of really praising the fact that we need to book the appointment all we're doing is praising the action of actually picking up the phone and making the call. This is praising effort versus praising the result. This takes the pressure off you to not necessarily be perfect because all you're trying to do here is just make the call. You're just trying to do the thing. So in doing the action you've already won. So that's praise the effort and not the result.


[00:04:21] Number two is think of everything as practice and honestly in real estate for the most part a lot of what we do is practice. So if we're going to a listing presentation and we need to be totally dialed in we need to be perfect. That's not necessarily the case because there will be more listing presentations. It's not always about being perfect thinking of things that you do within your real estate career as practice again will lower your need to be absolutely perfect.


[00:04:53] Next number three is encourage mistakes. So just like the first two when you're encouraging yourself to make a mistake you're encouraging yourself to learn from that mistake and you're letting yourself know that it's okay to not be perfect. Next thing with perfectionism. Oftentimes when we're caught in this vortex of our thinking that it has to be all or nothing it has to be 100 percent or zero. We're looking at the task as a whole. For instance let's say that you're working on a listening presentation and you're putting that together you're putting your slides together in order to have your perfect listing presentation and you're finding yourself caught in the fact that you don't really know where to start with it or you don't really even want to get started because it needs to be perfect. What you have here is a big task. You have a large task of putting a lot of stuff together and doing a lot of research and putting that into your listening presentation. So instead of focusing on the task as a whole.


[00:05:49] Number four is break it down into very manageable parts. So if your goal that day is not I need to create a whole listing presentation from scratch but instead I simply need to research three different listing presentations and pull some examples from that. Then you've lowered the bar for yourself so you've broken your huge task into a manageable pieces and just conquered that first little piece. In doing that you're not as focused on everything as a whole and it becomes not about am I going to get my listening presentation done today yes or no all or nothing thinking it's simply going to be am I going to get this small task done and then enough of these small tasks and these small wins will all lead to getting the task done.


[00:06:33] Those are your four tips. Praise the effort. Think of everything is practice. Encourage yourself to make mistakes and break things into smaller tasks. Head on over to the show notes if you'd like to watch the video for this episode. And thank you very much for tuning in. We will see you on the next lesson.


[00:06:49] This episode of Rev Real Estate School has come to a close. Thank you for tuning in. We'll see you back here for the next lesson


Follow Up Reading

24 Best Books for Real Estate Agents

5 Thank You Cards to Send To Clients

7 Open House Tip to Double Your Income

Question: Do you have any tips for dealing with perfectionism? Let me know in the comments below!

-Michael Montgomery