It’s All My Fault

Succeeding in a Challenging Market


Let’s quickly state the obvious and then move on.

The real estate market is tough for buyers.  As such, it can be tough for buyers’ agents. 

Currently, there are 2.1 months of available real estate inventory in the U.S. (source), very near an all-time low.  The average days on market for a real estate listing sold in the U.S. is 19 days.  (source)

Many real estate markets, particularly throughout the South, are experiencing less than 1 month of inventory.  You know the story.

The more challenging a real estate market is, the more our mindset can be tested.  My perspective is that a tough market is a good thing.  Weak real estate agents struggle in tough markets.  Strong real estate agents thrive in tough markets, often gaining market share that they never relinquish.  We all have room for improvement.

In markets like these (which we’ve been in for a couple of years and will likely continue to be in for the foreseeable future), we have two choices:

  1. Focus outward on things that we cannot control.
  2. Focus inward on things that we can control.


As a Buyers’ Agent, I cannot control:

  • That only 10 listings hit the market today
  • That 40 buyers and their agents are lined up down the street to see those 10 listings
  • That I cannot get an appointment to see that listing because it’s booked 
  • That home is worth $100k more than it was 2 years ago.
      • Median home sale price in the U.S. is up 49% in the past 4 years (source)

Early in my real estate career (2008-2009), I was discussing (more like complaining) to my Real Estate Coach by saying things like:

  • This seller won’t listen to me because…
  • This buyer lost this deal because…
  • This prospect did this thing and I’m annoyed by it.

He said, “would you like to hear the good news?”

“Good news?” I said.

“Yep, it’s all your fault,” he quipped.


We went on to discuss how the reason I wasn’t getting the results I desired could be from a handful of possible things that were all my fault… better said, within my control.

Ultimately, I narrowed them down to the only 3 things that I can control:


  1. My Mindset/Attitude
  2. My Effort
  3. My Skills

Let’s address each of these three.



Middleton Elite Coaching - It's All My Fault - Mindset / Attitude



The simplest trick to maintaining a healthy mindset is to stop burning energy on things that you cannot control.  You cannot control the real estate market.  Any time you find yourself complaining about the market, stop it.  That’s energy that you could be using elsewhere.

People want to work with positive people.  Like attracts like.  If all of your Real Estate Clients are crazy, well…  🙂

Consider starting your day by setting an intention around your mindset/attitude.


Today, I will focus on the opportunities.

Today, I will shine with positivity.

Today, I will bring out the best in myself and others.


If you’re not currently doing this, it may feel a little bit like rainbows and unicorns.  However, a healthy mindset is critical to the success of Effort and Skill.  You’ll become what you think about most of the time.  Or, as Tony Robbins often says: 

“Consider… what if life is happening for you, instead of to you?”

Your mental approach for the day (or for a situation) is within your control.  It is your choice.  Choose purposefully.  Choose wisely.



It's All My Fault - Effort




Growing up, I was an accomplished baseball player.  Many of the fundamental lessons I use in business are derived from my time as an athlete.  One of my Coaches used to say:

Don’t be upset about the results you didn’t get for the work that you didn’t do.


In one of our most successful seasons, under our uniforms, we wore t-shirts that said we bust ours to kick yours.  

Simply put.  There is no substitute for effort.  If you’re not happy with the results you’re getting, chances are you’re not putting in the appropriate amount of effort.  

Be careful not to confuse effort with time.  In the early innings of your career (or a project) more time is likely necessary.  However, effort is as much about the focus within time as it is about the time itself.  

You may not need more hours of work.  You might actually just need more focus.  Contrary to popular belief, we’re terrible at multitasking.  The inherent inefficiency of multitasking may be costing us as much as 40% of our workday.

Clifford Nass, researcher, and professor at Stanford University has studied this most of his career.  In an interview with NPR, he said:


How long can you go without checking email, or glancing at your smartphone? Today’s nonstop multitasking actually wastes more time than it saves—and there’s evidence it may be killing our concentration and creativity too.


Ask yourself:

Am I putting in the effort needed to achieve my goals?

Am I as focused as I need to be to hit my goals?

Minor adjustments can compound into major results.



Middleton Elite Coaching - It's All My Fault - Skills




My first year in real estate was in 2008. (I know, right?)  For my first 6+ months in the real estate business, I was what Zig Ziglar used to refer to as a motivated idiot – putting in the effort and not doing it the right way.

Real estate sales skills are a well-worn path, full of best practices.  In fact, that’s why Middleton Elite Coaching created two all-encompassing Virtual Skills Courses.  Most real estate agents grow their skills through experience, trial and error, and the school of hard knocks.  In today’s real estate market, that’ll put you out of business before you have a chance to get started.  Speed is your friend.  Here’s the recipe for improving your skills quickly:


Role Model

  • Pick and study the models that work and the people who do it best
  • Study the macro and local market conditions and understand how to explain them well.  

Role Play

  • Practice, practice, practice.  
  • Practice your scripts, practice your presentations, get incrementally better every day.
  • Stop practicing on your prospects.  The cost of errors is too high.

Real Play

  • Implement what you’ve learned.
  • Immediately following your appointment, analyze what went well and what you could do better.
  • Get to a Level 8 out of 10 as fast as possible.


Once you get your skills (in all areas) to an 8+, it’s time to focus on incremental improvement.

Here’s an exercise you can do:

Look back through every buyer you’ve worked with within the past year (or two).

What percentage of those buyers went under contract on their first offer submitted, versus having to lose out multiple times before “finally listening” to you?

Maybe 10%?  Maybe 20%?  Maybe 50%?

Unless that number was 100% of your buyers won on their first offer, we have room for incremental improvement.  Sure, there are certain buyers (usually due to financial constraints) who have a hard time competing in this real estate market.  There are other, more financially capable, buyers who find themselves having to submit 3, 4, 5, 10 offers before they win. 

Most real estate agents will say of their buyers – “ they had to learn the hard way before they finally listened to me.”

I would propose (brace yourself), it’s all your fault. 

Okay, to be fair, I don’t know if it’s all your fault.  However, as one of my early Real Estate Coaches pointed out to me, my lack of skill was holding me back.  

What would happen if 40% of your buyers won on the first offer instead of 20%?

What about 70% instead of 50%?

What changes would you need to make in order or increase your persuasive skills to make that happen? (still in an advantageous way to the buyer)

Maybe you’re already at 8 out of 10 in skills… what would it take to get to a 9?

Perhaps you invest in some additional training?  One of my favorites is the Negotiations MasterClass with Chris Voss.

Perhaps it’s time to revise your Buyer Consultation to put more emphasis on real estate market conditions?  We can help with that in our Working with Buyers Virtual Course.


Final Thoughts


Challenging real estate markets create opportunities for those who are willing to look for them and capitalize on them.  Most real estate agents run the risk of getting caught in the cycle of negative energy and burnout.  Top real estate agents will remain focused on the mindset necessary to win.  From there flows the commitment to increased effort (focus) and improved skills.

Who you hang out with matters.  As motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said, you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.  Maybe it’s time to make a MEC Coach one of those 5?


Be Elite!


Sources and Citations:

Regional Sales by Price Existing Single Family Homes December 2021

Copyright ©2022 “Regional Sales by Price Existing Single-Family Homes December 2021.” National Association of REALTORS®. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. 1-28-2022

Summary of December 2021 Homes Sales Statistics

Copyright ©2022 “Summary of December 2021 Homes Sales Statistics” National Association of REALTORS®. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. 1-28-2022