Selling Soulfully with Jennifer Allan


Who Sez You're Not Good Enough? And Why Are You Paying to Hear it?


I’d already been rather distressed this last week about something - and the timing is unfortunate because I have so many other things to do besides rant and rave and whine and fuss about my Issue du Jour (or du Week?) ... and then I saw Leslie Ebersole's excellent featured blog called "Mocking Me Won't Make Me Buy" and was inspired to put my rantings and ravings and fussings on "paper."

In the last 7 days, I’ve received no fewer than 12 emails or calls from real estate agents who are frustrated with the messages they’re getting from their high-priced "coaches" telling them that WHO THEY ARE isn’t good enough and unless they change WHO THEY ARE, they’ll fail. They’re paying Big Bucks for this message to be delivered to them on a regular basis and they seem to think the advice is warranted - that they truly aren’t good enough.

What a number that message is doing on their psyches! I have to wonder… maybe this is being snarky… but I have to wonder if that’s the intent – to play on the agents’ insecurities so they’ll keep forking over the $200/month, $500/month or even $1,000/month for coaching that seems intent on convincing the coachee that they’re, well, not good enough!

Now, I’m not talking about simply encouraging these agents to work a little harder, or work a little smarter or be a little more consistent. No, as far as I can tell, these programs are advising agents to venture WAY out of their comfort zones into places that they REEEALLY don’t want to go – and for some reason the agents aren’t making the connection that something that creeps them out might be wrong for them!

Here's the thing. Hiring a coach and writing him or her big check doesn't change who YOU are. If today you're creeped out by an approach to prospecting or deal-closing, don't think it's going to be any different tomorrow just because you signed up for an expensive program. You'll still be creeped out, I promise.

As I’ve said once or twice or a dozen times… if something feels wrong to you; if something makes you feel icky and dread getting up in the morning – it’s WRONG for you! And you don’t have to do it to succeed, no matter how much money you just paid someone to convince you that you should or how much they try to make you feel inferior for hesitating! You CAN succeed by being wonderful, extraordinary, one-of-a-kind YOU, I promise!

Okay, rant over. For now.

It's Here!


The More Fun You Have Selling Real Estate, the More Real Estate You Will Sell! 
(True Story)
Order Your Here!









Comment balloon 33 commentsJennifer Allan-Hagedorn • November 22 2011 07:12AM


Good morning Jennifer!

Good point. Many are expensive but the way I look at it, they have to make a living to. I just cannot afford it for now.

 In any cases, to be told to change: NO. My personality is exactly why I got into this business, in the first place! I would never let any "stranger" coach tell me otherwise.

Have a great day!

Posted by Lydie Ouellet Dickinson, Realtor (Realty Executives Tri County, Bellingham MA) about 9 years ago

Good Points, there's a balance to everything.Do coaches take into consideration the different personalities of their customers, I wonder. Just like all else there is good and bad and in between in every field. I cant afford one, never had one. 

Posted by Ellen Dittman, #1 Stop for NE FLA-JAX/OP 904.535.1199 (TEXT OK) r (Watson Realty Corp.) about 9 years ago

Jennifer, I had missed Leslie's post, so thank you for linking to it.

And I quite agree with you not to change your personality. One of the "top producers" in my office has decided he wants to move into coaching. I actually had my broker urge me to take his coaching, at a cost no less than $25 per hour (and my broker wanted me to take no less than 1 hour per week with him). I begged off (thankfully hubby was out of work and I used that as an excuse at the time for not spending the extra money). Thing is, this to producer did a "free" class for the office, and following his "advise" I had terrible results with people I approached, and was ready to hang up my license. It was after that, that I found you, and feel so much better about myself and what I do.

Posted by Chiara Petro, Your KEY to Home Sweet Home - Knoxville TN (eXp Realty - Angie Cody Team) about 9 years ago

If the "coach" makes you feel "icky", then get away as fast as you can. I, personally, have NEVER liked the "You're not good enough" approach. If that is what you hear...then that is what you visualize...and that is tough for many to overcome. Instead, concentrate on what you want to achieve. Here is my example: I used to teach marksmanship in the Marine Corps. If I told a Marine "Don't jerk the trigger", the Marine had to visualize an image of jerking a trigger and then affirm not to do that. That just doesn't make sense when you can just as easily "coach" the Marine by saying Slow Steady Squeeze on that trigger." THAT is the action I want and what I want the Marine to envision. Again, get away from those that speak negatively and try to convince you it is for your own good.

Posted by Ken Brandon, Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, NC (Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage (Jacksonville, NC)) about 9 years ago

Despite the fact that coaching can be extremely helpful in our business, there is no reason for a coach to tell or imply that an agent isn't good enough or to be something they are not. I agree with Ken, if a coach makes you feel "icky" then run away! There's a difference between a coach encouraging you to try new things or think outside the box versus a coach who tries the one size fits all approach that all agents should do the same things to do their business. If you feel uncomfortable that might be a good thing and part of growing but if you feel like you're not being true to yourself, that is very different.

Posted by Amy Shair, Award Winning Agent 20+ Years (Cary Apex Durham NC Referrals - RE/MAX United - Search Durham Homes) about 9 years ago

Good advise.  I have been thinking of changing coaches for the new year.

Posted by Gwen Fowler-864-916-2019 SC Mountains Lakes Homes, Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc. (Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc) about 9 years ago

It doesnt change whom they are unless they must first work at it. Hiring a coach to help me change my mindset is the best thing I've ever done. Starting with you. Then, in October 2009, I hired another coach and it took my business to the next level.

Was it expensive? Sure. But looking back, I couldn't be where I'm not had I not invested in them and most of all ME. It's one thing you read about mindsets, etc. it's another when you pay someone for accountability.

All that said, if the person doesnt make that change, even hiring a coach is useless.

A coach should be worth more than what s/he in gold. I probably literally made 100x more than what I paid and THAT is not an exergeration. After our initial coaching session, my coach had tried to get me into more coaching programs, now master mind groups costing tens of thousands. I put my brakes there. I dont think that value is worth it.

Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co.) about 9 years ago

I think it's important to recognise what is working for you and find a coach who will work with that. (I have never understood how a weekly coaching call and being nagged to do something is encouraging) If your philosphy totally fits with your coaches philosophy, you never question "why" you should follow their recommendations and advice.



Posted by Karen Salmon, Okotoks Real Estate Agent (Royal LePage Benchmark) about 9 years ago

Hi Jennifer.  Excellent Post.  No one does well when they are told they aren't good enough.    Can you imagine what would happen to marathon runners if folks on the sidelines shouted "you are not going to make it" vs the "you can do it" that sparks them on?   Suggested.  

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) about 9 years ago

Jennifer a good coach should help a client discover and expand on their strengths and opportunities. “Canned” coaching is almost always going to create bad feelings because it is out of sync with who the client really is.

Posted by David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation, Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential (Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC ) about 9 years ago

Excellent post, Jennifer.  I can't imagine paying someone to tell me I'm not good enough or that I have to change or that I have to do things that are completely out of my comfort zone.  To me that sounds like a recipe for failure.  Suggested. 

Posted by Kimm Cloutier, Realtor - Agawam, MA about 9 years ago

The right coach will empower you, build you up, and support you as you build your business in an authentic way. Never give yourself over to someone who claims to know what is best for you, and don't stay in relationship - EVER - with someone who tears you down or makes you feel "less than".

GREAT post!

Posted by A A (Z) about 9 years ago

Jennifer - BRAVO!!!  HALLELUJAH!!!  Finally, a coach who doesn't buy into all the "coaching" crap.  I'm so sick of hearing people say that I have to be on every single social networking site, every single day, spamming my entire SOI if I ever expect to generate new business.  AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

As far as I am concerned, this business is still a people business and a relationship business where we bloggers have to actually get up off our butts and step away from the computer and go out and talk to people in order to close business.  The day it stops being a people business and a relationship business requiring me to actually get off my butt and step away from the computer and go out and talk to people is the day I will get out of this business.  JMHO

Posted by Donne Knudsen, CalState Realty Services (Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA) about 9 years ago

Sometimes it takes someone else to put something into focus for us. 

Thank you.

My business partner & I "invested" in an expensive coaching program for her last year.  She lasted one day as she was not comfortable with the techniques they used.  So she felt bad that we had spent so much money for something she could make herself do.   I felt glad we had only paid for her and not me.   We went onto to have a banner year so...................... you have to do what fits your personality.

What is hard is knowing which coaches have that style that meshes with you until you are already in the program and shelled out your money.

Posted by Faye Y. Taylor, Homes for Sale Floresville, La Vernia & San Antoni (StepStone Realty, LLC ) about 9 years ago

Faye - I'm curious - when you and your partner were evaluating the coaching you invested in, did it sound like something that fit your personalities? Were you excited about implementing the methods the program advised? As Karen says quite eloquently above - "If your philosphy totally fits with your coaches philosophy, you never question "why" you should follow their recommendations and advice." It'll just make sense to you and might seem even head-slapping obvious - "Duh, why I didn't I think of that?" Otherwise, it's probably not right FOR YOU.

Donne - I agree 100%. Being a successful real estate agent (or any small-business owner) isn't predicated on some specific technology or program or system. Any time your business depends on other people having trust in you... preferably lots of people having trust in you - well, no technology, program or system is going to accomplish that FOR you.

Beth & David - AMEN! We're all adults who don't need to be scolded into submission! There's plenty of insecurity and doubt in all of us - why on earth would we PAY for someone to give us even more!?

Kimm - thank you for the suggest! And yeah, I'm trying to picture my getting all excited about the coach I just hired... and then spending the next year defending myself to him or her. Work WITH me and my strengths, don't try to change who I am!

Karen - SO well-put! And yeah, the last time I checked, nagging was one of the less-effective methods of motivation.

Loreena - I don't do a lot of coaching, but when I do, I fully expect my value to far exceed my cost. But my goal is not to change anyone, but rather to figure out what their strengths are and capitalize on them. Most people have plenty of strengths to work with, so I don't see the need to take a weakness and make it "less-weak" when we can take a strength and make it even stronger, if that makes sense.

Gwen - who are you coaching with now and why are you considering switching?

Amy - Wow - you said that SO well. Thank you!

Ken - Ooooooh... great point. Again, so well-put!

Key - And I'm so glad you did! (find me, that is).

Ellen - I never had a coach, either, LOL. But my theory is that most trainers, myself included, had success with a particular method or approach and they are inspired to teach it to others. The problem is that not every approach is right for every person, so anyone seeking coaching really should do their homework and shop around. MY way worked for me and it works for people who are similar to me. But there's no way I could successfully coach or train someone using, say, Mike Ferry or Brian Buffini's methods because they aren't right for me. However, they are clearly right for others and there's nothing wrong with that!

Lydie - Good for you - NEVER let someone tell you that you have to change who you are to succeed.


Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) about 9 years ago

In some ways these coaches are taking your watch and telling you what time it is. In other ways they are applying a formula that may or may not work for you. Good post

Posted by Charlie Ragonesi, Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros ( about 9 years ago

I needed time to come back and write a decent comment, so here I finally am. 

First, thanks for the mention. I appreciate being recognized by people I admire, and I admire your work. 

Second, this post had several versions. A harsher version is on another site. There are still more unpublished versions that bordered on angry. I'm glad I let those sit and came up with a middle ground.

This all started two weeks ago when I made a comment in a FB thread "my clients are unlikely to find me on Facebook" and that I didn't expect to tweet with my lawyer. It sent a guru into a rant on his own blog about the dinosaurs in real estate. Apparently his clients (all us Realtors) are an average age of 56 and they are using FB and if we didn't embrace FB and use his methods we would be left behind. 

I agree...we in real estate are all using FB...mostly to talk to each other, which I enjoy, but not to solicit business or become overly friendly with clients.

I have been around sales and marketing my entire professional life, mostly technology and consulting, and now real estate the past 10 years.

No person on earth (with the possible exception of 8th grade girls) is more likely to want to spend money to change themselves then the real estate sales person. I think the reason is that the agents are usually expected to be chameleons...we are typically empathetic "people" people who want things to work well for our clients. Real estate transactions are typically one time interactions between agent and client, and so we adapt and mold and bend. This was manageable when transaction took 30 - 60 days. Now, when listings last for a year or more, it's easy to lose track of our core selves.

This doesn't happen with, say, software salesmen, or project managers of large systems implementations, or piano sales people selling to musicians. There are usually like personalities on each side of the interactions. 

But real estate folk deal with the entire population of personality types. So while we tell agents to "be yourself" what we really mean is to "be yourself with people who will like you" OR "be the yourself the client wants you to be for as long as it takes to get through the transaction". 

As we change the way we prospect and market, usually with greater use of technology, we are flailing around more. When an agent worked a personal SOI or a neighborhood, he or she was likely to be building relationships with people who were already "like" in one or more ways. But we are admonished to prospect and develop relationships with a wider range of people with whom we may not have a natural affinity.

This is where I am concerned abut the clash between the "old style trainer" (100 handwritten notes a month, please) and the "high tech gurus" (100 tweets a day, please). Even if you are able to generate new business with new ways of prospecting, can you work at your best with new client types?

Those of us who work in relo, especially relo buyers, will say that they are "harder" than our local clients. It's because we usually don't have a shared world...they are coming from a place we might never have never been to. You have to quickly develop a shared language for ideas as simple as "square footage". It an intense hybrid personal+financial transaction that must take place in s short amount of time. 

Imagine doing relo buyers all day, all the time, and you get a sense for what would happen when you let technology-based prospecting place you out of the worlds you know. You'd become either a robotic transaction manager or a raving lunatic.

I think this phenomenon explains why so many REO listing agents seemed to become cold and distant and procedural. It isn't just that they are working with banks and impersonal asset managers, per se, but the benefits of shared environment and experiences is missing from what we know how to do with traditional sellers in our own neighborhoods.

That's why so many of us are carefully using technology to grow our business. It's not that I can't or won't buy and use every new tool I can get my hands on, it's that I am mindful of the implications for me and the entire brokerage.

A post to your post on mine. Hope it's OK.





Posted by Leslie Ebersole, I help brokers build businesses they love. (Swanepoel T3 Group) about 9 years ago

Wow - what great perspectives, Leslie. You can post on my blog anytime! Interesting thoughts about working with Relo buyers. Almost all of my clients came from my SOI and so I rarely ran into the troubles I hear about all the time these days - how difficult and demanding buyers are; how misunderstandings and miscommunication abounds - but it makes sense if you're casting your net (using technology) outside of your regular network that you'll end up working with people you really have nothing in common with. Hmmmmmm....

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) about 9 years ago

Hi Jennifer,

Right on!

If bits of your soul are being ripped out, maybe that approach to selling real estate is not right for you...

Thanks for sharing


Posted by Phil Leng, Phil Leng - Retired (Retired) about 9 years ago

Hi Jennifer - This is such a good post - WHY ISN'T IT FEATURED????? It's so important that we don't ask people to become something they aren't.  Why do coaches persist in this habit.

Posted by Ruthmarie Hicks (Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605) about 9 years ago

Had to come over by way of Donne's blog.    Worthy topic and I agree, this would have been a great feature as well.

Coaching is obviously a very personal thing.  I do not believe that coaching is always a "yes" for a Realtor and only subject to the constrains of a  budget.  There are people, such as myself, who do not see the value in coaching to the level it is promoted.  I am certain coaching does produce results for some people and only those Realtors can say it's worth it. 

I would bet that in most cases, the coaches come out much further ahead than the Realtors.  They are, after all, their own business. 

Posted by Cathy McAlister, Sacramento DRE#00648507 (Cathy Ashley McAlister, GRI CDPE - Broker / Sacramento ) about 9 years ago

Cathy - I, too, have my own suspicions about the coaching industry, even though I'm part of it, at least peripherally. In fact, I've been trying to come up with a different descriptive word than "coaching" because it holds some well-deserved negative connotations.

But I'll reiterate... if a coach/trainer/mentor has something to offer that feels right to you and makes sense to you, then it may very well BE right for you. But if you're thinking or hoping you'll have to change who you are in order to work with the coach, it's most definitely WRONG... for YOU.


Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) about 9 years ago

Jennifer-Leslie-AND DONNE-thank you all. Caught Leslie's post a few days back and it helped complete a few thoughts that were rolling around in my head, then Donne shone her spotlight here...I've not hired a coach "yet". Don't know if I ever will. I really like Leslie's comment about how the legnth of time in transactions can cause you to lose track of your core self, so hard to know-am I stubbornly resisting change, or is this really just not right for me?

Posted by Marie Graham, Westchester County Interior Decorator, Home Stager (Owner, The Refreshed Home White Plains NY) about 9 years ago

What a beautiful and interesting post and the comments are great.  I have been through all kinds of trainings over the years in different fields of endeavor from rah rah, zig zigler, neuro-linguistics and on and on. They all have something to take away, but for me even the thought of having a personal coach, is not probably what I would do.  Perhaps I may need one, and if I were in my twenties, maybe...but I am not and even though different ones have a lot to offer different people I think one needs to be careful.  I believe on the whole, Realtors are a fragile sort and if the coach is not aware of the person......and gives the message somehow that the person is not good enough or pushy enough or whatever, then where does that leave them.

Posted by Mary Stewart, Wilsonville and Surrounding Portland Metro Areas (HomeTrust Real Estate, LLC, Homes for Everyone) about 9 years ago

Mary - I see so many agents search for the magic gimmick that will turn their careers around. Sorry, but it's not out there. Yes, as, you say, there are pieces and parts to take away from any teaching relationship, but if someone doesn't have enough work ethic and common sense of their own to work with, no program, system or tool in the world is going to make them successful.

The limited amount of coaching that we do around here is more of a let's-figure-out-what-the-problem-is-and-work-on-that approach. And we have no qualms politely declining to be hired by someone we believe is simply looking for answers outside of themselves.

Marie - excellent insights - I'd love to hear more about your thoughts on "losing track of yourself!" 

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) about 9 years ago

Jennifer ~ you have made a valid point.  I think coaching can be great, but if you partner up with someone that will make you accountable, you can sure save some money and your ego!

Posted by Dawn A Fabiszak, The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience! (Private Label Realty ( Denver metro area, Colorado) about 9 years ago

Such a great discussion and how I missed your post, I will never know.  Anyway, I think that if one can find a good coach, they are probably worth their weight in gold...however...I think that there are a lot of folks that do a lot of business from Real Estate Agents...

Meaning there are probably now more Real Estate Coaches and SEO gurus then ever before.  Unfortunately Real Estate  Agents are terrific targets for this kind of marketing because most of us want to do really well and most of us look to the "experts" to help us do really well and do it faster and easier.  When we see others doing so well with coaching and other such tools, we want to hop on board too....then we end up finding out that we got SOLD too and then jump to the next shiny thing...

maybe I am just talking about myself, lol :)!  Suggested (Maybe my magic touch will work, this needs to be featured)!

Posted by Brenda Mullen, Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!! (RE/MAX Access) about 9 years ago

When I first started in real estate, Brian Buffini was a big deal.  I had an office next to someone who was doing his courses and had one of his coaches.  It was MISERY to listen to this man day in and day out brow beat (IMHO) people on the phone.  And then I would listen to him being 'coached' and wondered why in the WORLD would anyone put up with something like that?  Great post, great rant :)

Posted by Mimi Foster, Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor (Falcon Property Solutions) about 9 years ago

Mimi - I hear this every day! And what saddens me is that the agents being brow-beaten think they deserve it! Sheesh!

Brenda - I don't think I've ever purchased any tool or system or product that brought me ANY business (either as an agent or a writer) that didn't involve significant effort on my part... Anything I've invested in that didn't require a lot of ME to implement was a complete waste of money - SEO and PPC heading the list.

Dawn - absolutely! Although real estate agents are so competitive, I wonder how many are willing to help the other guy out! ;-] 

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) about 9 years ago

Jennifer, I spent big bucks for two coaching programs and I have to say I think they were both 'one size fits all' and the first one especially wanted to mold me into someone I wasn't comfortable being. I quit after a few sessions, but they kept my big bucks. Coaching is a very personal think and unless the coach matches to the personality of the student, it won't work. I am no robot.


Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) about 9 years ago

Sharon - I'd love to hear more about your experiences - not by name if you prefer, but it would be helpful for me to hear more about your perceptions of how the programs worked and why they made you uncomfortable. I'd hate to ever make my clients feel that way unintentionally!  

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) about 9 years ago

thank you very much for the informative and interesting post. I get so much out of the active rain network.

Posted by Paul Gapski, 619-504-8999,#1 Resource SD Relo (Berkshire Hathaway / Prudential Ca Realty) almost 9 years ago
xWiZKG uwshutzgybxt
Posted by uvpebrdfmu over 8 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments