Being in the business of real estate, we are in the business of sales, and that also means rejection is inevitable. There is one truth to sales and that is, the number of people/strangers we can talk to in a day is going to be a reflection of how much business we can generate in the future. That’s why it is so important to prospect, but the biggest fear we face in prospecting is rejection.
Believe it or not, it’s hardwired into our brains as a survival technique. When we were living off the land, in tribes, hunting and gathering to survive, the biggest fear of the caveman was to be rejected from our tribe, and be cast out into the wilderness to fight the lions, tigers, and bears on our own. We didn’t want to disagree, we didn’t want to be ostracized, and we didn’t want to be thought of as an inadequate member of the tribe to avoid being rejected and quite literally, thrown to the wolves. So, don’t think that you are weird or get down on yourself because you don’t like the feeling of being rejected. It’s natural and normal to not like it and it’s likely that we will always have some sort of personal feelings and reactions to being rejected.
So how do we minimize the negative feelings? We have to desensitize ourselves from the reactions and feelings that surface when we’ve been rejected. Here are 5 highly effective tactics to desensitize yourself from rejection while prospecting for business.
Just as with everything, it’s easier to deal with difficult situations by facing them and practicing your reactions. This desensitizes you to the situation and helps you deal with whatever may come your way. And you have to keep exposing yourself to that situation little by little to get more and more comfortable with it.
Think about it like allergy treatments - when someone is allergic to cats, there isn’t a magic pill that makes people not allergic to cats, instead they get treated by gradual exposure to the dander over time and their body gets used to it. That’s how rejection works, if you expose yourself to it little by little you’ll get used to it. Some people have tendency to put off prospecting and save 50 calls in one day, by the time they are rejected the forth of fifth time, they will feel overwhelmed and worn down. Instead they should call 3 people day. They’ll still meet their goal of talking to 50 people, or more, but the blow of rejection will be in smaller doses.
When prospecting, it’s important to be able to just move on from a rejection. Yes, rejection will feel personal, because it triggers that physical survival response, but if you can minimize, or better yet eliminate the internal dialog in your head, you won’t feel the rejection.
Have you ever been to a busy deli where you get your ticket, wait for your number to be called? When you get to the deli case you, you better have your order ready, if you don’t, the butcher moves on - NEXT! That butcher doesn’t wonder if you don’t like what’s in the case or if you’re even going to make an order. He’s moving on - Next!
Well, I invite you to use the same tactic. When you’re on the phone with someone and they say no - even if they are kind of mean about it - just say alright, NEXT! Move on to the next number. Don’t sit there and critique yourself or and ask “What should I have done better? Why did I say that? Why did he say that? Who does he think I am?” If you do, you’ll end up making one call and then spend ALL DAY analyzing it. NEXT!
If you’ve ever watched Star Trek movies or television shows, you’ll know there is a character named Mr. Spock. Mr. Spock was phenomenal with desensitizing himself and dealing with rejection. (You may want to just search for a video or two of Mr.Spock’s reactions to situations.)
Mr. Spock is Vulcan and doesn’t have the emotions of humans. Humans have emotions like Captain Kirk, “Mr Spock! What are we going to do?! The enemy is coming!” in response, Mr. Spock would say stoic and deadpan, “Captain, that’s fascinating.”
Fascinating - leaves the problem and the emotion with the person who had it and doesn’t allow us to take it on. People often want to transfer their baggage to you and they want you to take it so they don’t have to carry it anymore. What’s important to keep in mind is that it’s your choice as to whether you will take it or not.
When prospecting, someone might aggressively reject you on the phone. They may call you a name, have an attitude with you, or let you know how annoying it is to hear from you. You can brood and get frustrated, “How dare he talk to me that way? I don’t deserve to be treated like that!” Or you can think, “Fascinating,” and the whole thing can be deflated. Leave the emotion, the reaction, and all the negativity with them and don’t take it - fascinating.
When you turn prospecting into a game, it helps you focus on the full scale of work ahead to win the game, rather than the looming rejection from just one of these prospects. Set a number of times you’re going to get rejected, and then stop. Don’t try for a marathon of phone calling for 7 hours, you’re going to burnt out and we are no good when we’re burnt out. Set up a reward for getting rejected 25 times. Make it a competition with another person - the first one to make to 10 rejections wins. Try leaving your office each day with 25 business cards and don’t come back until you’ve handed out all 25 and collected 25 in return. See how close you can get to that goal. Focus on the game and not each and every possible rejection.
Recruit someone to work with you on prospecting, either door-knocking or in meetings, and ask them for their feedback after you’ve been rejected. This helps you see things from an objective third-party perspective. When you’re rejected feelings bubble up, but if the other person is able to present an objective, non-feeling side to things, you can calm your emotions and see a calmer perspective. They may be able to say to you, “You did everything right and you were very understanding, but this person just wasn’t ready to move forward today.”
Phillip Gagnon has been helping master franchisors, brokers, managers, team leaders and agents grow their businesses for almost 20 years. As the Founder and Principal Consultant at 3 Data Pulse he has created a software that allows companies to identify and recruit agents, develop their existing agents business, and predict when an agent is likely to leave their company.
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