The subject line in the email is always the same: “Sale of House.”

The next lines are usually all the same as well.

“After much consideration, we have decided to go with another agent.”

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Anyone who has been in the real estate business for five minutes knows what this is. A “Dear Realtor” letter. The one we hate to find in our inboxes.

Thankfully, I have received only a handful in my 20-plus years in real estate. But they still sting.

Yes, it’s a tough industry. A business that requires us to have skin as thick as a rhinoceros. Teflon, even. The ability to let the disappointments and discouragements slide like water off a duck’s back. And get on with it. Move on to the next client. The next prospect.

But it is sometimes easier said than done. Sometimes it hurts just a little. We think we have connected with someone. Become sympatico. Only to find that they had other thoughts.

Perhaps another agent had a better listing presentation. Offered more or different services. Or they had a friend or relative in the business and just wanted a second opinion from us.

If we are fortunate, that Dear Realtor letter will explain why they chose someone else instead.

But most of the time we have to guess. To imagine what changed their minds. What lured them away from our magnetic personality, our professional brokerage, our complete service package. Money? Perhaps.

I sometimes feel that commission trumps integrity. And if we have to justify that we are worthy of our commission to our clients, perhaps we don’t want them as clients. As the great real estate trainer Tony Joe explains, we have probably all had a “commission-ectomy” at some point in our careers. He goes on to explain that we shouldn’t want to work with those kinds of “boneheads” anyways. They can shorten our lifespan.

So, in times like these, when an email of rejection threatens to ruin our evening, I have to remind myself that we cannot lose what we never had in the first place. We never had the listing, so we haven’t lost it.

An opportunity lost, perhaps. But that’s alright. Because I believe there was something about that opportunity that was not meant for us. It has, in a sense, released us and set us free. Free from perhaps a bad situation. Free from some very unwanted stress. Free from working with boneheads.

It was a job that was not meant for us, but for someone else. As the song says, “One less problem without ya!”

The legendary real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran once said that she could measure the success of an agent by how well they rolled with the punches; how quickly they got up when knocked down and moved past the rejections, setbacks and disappointments.

Because they happen to us all.

It’s not something they tell you about when you are getting your real estate license.

Along with the fact that a large part, if not the majority of the job is prospecting. Reaching out and finding new clients. And that is the part of the job that will help us get past the rejections and disappointments.

Moving on. Onwards and upwards. Because there is someone out there who wants to work with us. Because who we are and what we do and offer is worth more to them than saving a couple of bucks at the end of the day.

I often look back at my list of testimonials from clients that were happy to work with me and liked my services and help. Reading them serves as a therapy of sorts that counters rejection.

For anyone who is new to the industry, any inspirational readings will do. There are lots of great books and articles out there to help cope with rejection and disappointment. All the best real estate trainers and coaches have been in our shoes at one time or another and can offer some great advice to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and find the next great client. The one who will appreciate us and be happy to work with us.

And so, Dear Client, while it was you who decided to let me go before I had a chance to help you, I want to say thank you for setting me free. Because clearly, if someone else, some other agent or team or brokerage, or heaven forbid, if you want to do it yourself, seems more attractive or important than what I have to offer, then we would not have been a good fit.

Because I work hard for the money, and I would have given you my all. Because you get what you pay for, and all that.

While some agents may try to fight for the listing, to find out what they did wrong or what it would take to get their business, I choose another path.

I take the high road, as I like to call it, and reply, “Thanks for letting me know and I wish you all the best.”

Because they didn’t have to let me know. That is another story all together when you suddenly see a listing you had hoped for suddenly appear on MLS.  Without so much as a thanks for your time.

So, I am grateful to have received an email letting me know potential clients are going with someone else.

At least they extended that courtesy.

Thank you, next!


  1. I really needed this today. Had a long weekend away from my toddler, showing homes, only to receive this email. So thank you. Need to work on my thicker skin for sure.

  2. “What lured them away from our…” (read “my”) “…magnetic personality?” Must have been a bonehead, eh?

    Do I detect a smidgeon of arrogance, even a hint of intellectual superiority here? Methinks so.

    This is the type of attitude that sometimes takes hold of one for whom a little education—and it is just a little—within a specific sphere of knowledge festers. “How dare he/she/they turn me/us down. Do they even know what they do? The fools!”

    Why not just realize that it’s a numbers game; always has been. Like a gold miner panning for gold in a mountain stream, just keep on sifting, and maybe you will strike it rich…as far as listings and/or buyer clients are concerned. Those who persist will eventually be rewarded with another bonehead, one who sees one’s strengths and weaknesses, and, who maybe even recognizes the Realtor as a fellow bonehead, because as they say, we tend to be drawn to those who remind us of ourselves.

    Until next time (and there will always be a next time, because I keep panning for boneheads herein), over and out…


    Boneheads R Us


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