REALTOR® Guide to Dealing with Losing

America loves a good come-from-behind story, especially when that story involves a lot of blood, sweat and tears along the way. We’re a country famous for falling down, dusting ourselves off, and getting back up again. Some of our most beloved national heroes and celebrities have failed and bounced back. Michael Jordan, for example, was cut from his high school basketball team. Championship boxers routinely get up from the mat—they never gave up, and neither should you.

Real estate can be a tough business, and you’re bound to lose a sale now and again. We’ve all been there; showing 50 homes to a client only to have them pick none of them. What matters more than the loss is how you put that past failure behind you and bring a winning attitude to your next client interaction.

Accept responsibility for the loss

In sports, the refs made a bad call or miss some of the action. The same goes for real estate. Sometimes it seems your clients missed an obvious opportunity on a property, or a fellow REALTOR® might misinterpret your communications. Still, it’s up to you to evaluate your own practices and ask tough questions about why a certain property hasn’t sold or about your own practices. After you evaluate, admit your mistakes. Instead of stewing, take each loss as a learning opportunity and move forward.

Be a good sport

When you lose, lose graciously. There’s nothing worse than a sore loser, especially in business. Because in business, you never know when a client will circle back to you again, or when the same real estate agent who was once a competitor might become a future partner. Congratulate the winner and move on—it might pay dividends down the road.

Be intentional with your business

As REALTOR® coach Jared James suggests, ensuring that other REALTORS® are equally as committed as you is essential when dealing with referrals. If you’ve experienced a loss, step back and reevaluate the other people in your professional network. Take your personal and professional relationships on a matter-of-fact level, and evaluate the situation as honestly as possible. Read more at “What? Your House is on the Market with Someone Else?!?

If you don’t have anything nice to say…

You know the rest. Maybe you have good reason to voice concerns. But venting will only make you feel better in the short term, and is unlikely to change the results. Complaining can only hurt your reputation. If you need to sulk over a lost sale, do so in private.

Sing when you’re losing

Keep a positive attitude, keep your head up, and look the part of the winner. Don’t perpetuate the stereotype that you’re prone to future losses. Move forward like a winner, believe you’re a winner, and the world will believe with you. Since real estate is such a people-driven business, a positive attitude is essential for your success. Losses are bound to happen—don’t get too high or too low based on any transaction.

Support the winner

Part of being a good sport is congratulating the winner. But part of being good in business is in recognizing talent. Perhaps you lost because another REALTOR® was just fantastic at their job. See what you can learn from them, and add them to your referral network. Perhaps a future partnership is possible, and at the very least the stiff competition will keep you on top of your game.

Do you remember a loss that had a major impact on your professional career? How did you rebound and find future success?

  1. Absolutely love this post. Making a sale is, of course, exciting. But you have to get through a lot of “no” and disappointment to close the deal. We can all do better when we learn to love “no”. It’s not easy but it’s essential to make even more sales.