When is the last time you got a real solid rejection? I’m talking about something right down to the core like a punch to the gut. I’m not referring to the deal that did not go through because the value came in too low and you personally paid for the appraisal out of your own pocket.
I’m not talking about the borrower who said they had good credit and it didn’t turn out to be the case. I’m not referring to the deal where underwriting wanted bank statements and you knew the client would show declining income. Nor the time when you had to cancel a deal because it was a buy down and you didn’t think you could sell it on the secondary market as an owner-occupied. Or the time when there was a crack in the driveway and in the foundation and your deal was held up pending a geology report.
I’m talking about a rejection that hit you right between the eyes. Here is one I saw several years ago and the image of the memory is still clear.
I am a professional speaker so I’m in a transactional business. I provide for my retirement income through owning residential rental properties. I was sitting in a real estate broker’s office and I just happened to notice as I walked in several signs stating, “Affiliates by Appointment Only—This Means YOU!” These signs were all over the office.
This broker just happened to also own a mortgage company, and although his real estate agents are independent contractors, he wanted them to use his company to finance the deals. He says it’s to keep control of the deal, but it’s no secret he wants that side of the transaction as well.
Into the office walks a beautiful young lady. She is well dressed, and walks past the up desk, smiles and starts to walk over to a real estate agent’s desk, rate sheet in hand. The broker sees her, storms out of his office, runs over to her, takes her card, rips it up and throws it at her screaming, “This is how much I want to see you in my office, now get out!”
She runs out of the office in tears and vows never to return.
This is very harsh isn’t it? I wish I was making this up. I’m not.
So what happened in her brain and what does this mean to her future. There are three major areas of the brain: The outer cortex, responsible for decision-making, analyzing and critical thinking; the inner limbic system, responsible for arousal, fear, fight or flight; and the brain stem, responsible for the autonomic systems of breathing, heart rate, etc. I’m going to focus on the cortex and the limbic area.
The cortex is the top layer that is activated when this woman makes a decision to grab some rate sheets and head out to visit this office. When she gets this tremendous rejection her limbic system sees this as life-threatening and creates what is called a cortical limbic loop where she forms a memory that then becomes generalized. The literal generalization is that calling on real estate offices is life threatening and must be avoided at all times.
She doesn’t know that this non-conscious loop has been formed. She just thinks that she is just too busy with productive activities to prioritize calling on another real estate office. Science knows differently. This is called “learned helplessness.” She has had a previous traumatic experience that she has formed a protective memory to prevent it from happening again. This is also referred to as a post-traumatic episode.
Just the thought of going into another real estate office is linked to great pain. The brain cannot distinguish between real or imagined pain. To this woman, going into a real estate office is real physical pain.
Will she ever prospect again? Not without an intervention. This is the result of five million years of evolution. The human body has evolved to compel the individual to avoid the highest level of perceived pain for comfort, always. What then follows is rationalization, where we justify the avoidance.
If you look deeper you will see that the core principle here is human avoidance. This is driven by the genetic coding to avoid the highest level of perceived pain. In order for this woman to get herself to take the action she is avoiding, she would need to leverage this human nature principle, or law.
How would she do that? Simple … she needs to change what she perceives as the highest level of pain. She will be compelled to avoid that perception. That avoidance is an instinct!
Here’s the secret … use behavioral contracting. Here are the components of a behavioral contract; specific declaration plus accountability. Accountability has two parts, the check-in and an enforceable consequence for non-performance.
► Application: Tell another person that you will give them $100 if you don’t call on this real estate office today and talk with at least three real estate agents. You see the components of a behavioral contract.
► Specific declaration: Visit a real estate office and speak with three realtors. (Accountability) consequence for non-performance—pay another person a $100 fine if you don’t do it.
Here’s what happens in your brain. You get a compelling cortical limbic loop. The cortex is stimulated by the decision to call on the office. The limbic system is stimulated by the avoidance of the highest level of perceived pain, the $100 penalty if you don’t take the action. This works! You are overriding the current cortical-limbic loop that has calling on the real estate office as a threatening and dangerous task. The $100 fine is seen as more threatening then your previous negative experience. You are compelled to avoid the highest level of pain. In this case you avoid the pain of the fine by going into that office.
This is how you rewire the brain, referred to as brain plasticity. You are actually undoing a negative memory and rewriting it with a behavioral contract.
Try it for yourself. Ask what is one activity you would like to accomplish this week that would be good for you to do, you are capable of doing it and you know you would not do it if you don’t use a behavioral contract.
Write it down. Put a $100 penalty if you don’t do it by the end of the week and give it to someone else and ask them to hold you accountable. You have now changed what you are in reference to and human nature will compel you to avoid the highest level of pain, not the rejection, but the $100 penalty. How do you avoid? By taking the action! I’ll hold you accountable. Send me your commitment by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and its $100 if you don’t do it. Watch what happens!
Bob Davies of Lake Forest, Calif.-based High Performance Training Inc. may be reached by phone at (949) 830-9192, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.bobdavies.com.