Are You a Failure?

Great, says motivational speaker and former real estate practitioner Wayne Allyn Root, you're on the right path to success.

May 1, 1997

Wayne Allyn Root calls himself the "world's most successful failure." He spoke recently with Walt Albro, associate editor of Today's REALTOR®.

Is it true that you once failed as a residential salesperson?

Not once but four times. Real estate was my first career after college. I love the real estate business. It's truly the American dream job. It offers freedom, independence, flexible hours, a potentially unlimited in-come, and the ability to stay close to your family by working out of your house.

I just wasn't very good at it at the time.

Why did you fail?

No one taught me that to be successful in real estate you have to deal with a lot of rejection. When you make 50 phone calls, you have to cope with the fact that you're going to hear no 49 times before you hear one yes.

When the noes started to pile up, I got scared. I thought I was failing. Every time I got that feeling, I jumped to a different brokerage. Finally, I thought the reason I was failing was that I was working for someone else. I decided to set up my own company, Wayne Allyn Root & Associates. But that failed, too.

I had some measure of success at listing property. I had a great listing presentation. If there were 100 salespeople trying to get the listing, I'd be the one who ended up getting it. I listed tens of millions of dollars' worth of property. The problem was that once I listed the property, I was overly anxious to have it sold. If I listed it today, I wanted it to sell no later than tomorrow. I didn't have the patience to show the property again and again to customers who weren't interested. I was frustrated with the constant rejection.

Eventually, when another opportunity came along, I turned tail and ran.

What did the experience teach you?

Looking back, I realize I had a lot of energy for the real estate business, but it was unfocused. I didn't know that what looked like failure to me was nothing more than a routine landmark on the road to success.

The key to being a successful salesperson is the willingness to face rejection again and again, and not let the experience bother you. You do that by focusing on your goal--success. You should work toward your goal with such energy, tenacity, perseverance, and enthusiasm that when you hear no, you should get excited. That's because a long series of noes is inevitably followed by yes. When you're cold calling and you hear no 49 times, you should be happy, because that means you're only one call away from the yes that will earn money.

You mentioned that you have some practical motivational tips that you normally give when you speak to real estate practitioners. What are they?

There are four rules:

1. No complaining--I worked in several real estate offices, and it seemed that in each office there was always at least one person who complained about everything. Those people never seem to leave the office, but one of their constant complaints is their own lack of success.

If you don't have anything good to say, keep your mouth shut. Otherwise, you ruin the attitude of everyone around you.

2. No excuses--Don't play the blame game. If you're not making the sales, there's only one person to blame--you. Maybe you're using the wrong approach. If that's the case, change what you're doing. But don't go around making excuses.

3. No hiding in the office--If you don't have any business, get on the telephone and make cold calls. Go out and canvass door-to-door. Don't sit around. Take action.

4. No television--What I mean by this is, don't waste time in idle activity when you could be working to improve your mind, body, and spirit. The average practitioner probably spends two to three hours a day watching television. You could take 10-15 minutes of that time each day to prepare for tomorrow: Review and analyze your successes and failures of the day; make affirmations about certain goals you want to achieve; practice visualizing the achievement of those goals.

To read more about Wayne Allyn Root and the joy of failure, see Today's Realtor® Online at One Realtor PlaceTM.

Books: Valuable Lessons from Failure

The Joy of Failure: How to Turn Failure, Rejection, and Pain Into Extraordinary Success. Wayne Allyn Root. 262 pages. The Summit Publishing Group, 1997. $16.95. 800/462-6420.
Reviewed by Terry Anderson

By his own admission, Wayne Allyn Root has made a career out of being a failure.

He has failed at almost every job imaginable, including our chosen profession of real estate. Being a practitioner in the ultimate service business, real estate, which is by nature filled with rejection, I eagerly dived into this book.

Root teaches many lessons from his own experiences with failure. He also reviews the attempts at success as well as repeated failures of a number of well-known celebrities. The bottom line is that the bigger the failure, the more likely it is that there will be a big success in the near future. This success will follow only if we learn from our failure. Root says that you have to make a conscious effort to learn from your failures.

The foundation of Root's success system is built with much of the same material advocated by other gurus of self-improvement. For example, Root says we must have

  • An individualized clear and concise plan--a well-defined set of goals and clear dreams--to follow
  • A strong belief in ourselves to achieve goals and make dreams a reality; i.e., a strong sense of self-esteem and self-belief
  • A sense of urgency and a deadline to change the world we live in now to the world we wish to be a part of; i.e., don’t wait until tomorrow, but do it now, today
  • An ability to visualize that new world--to touch, to see, and to smell that place where we'd like to thrive; i.e., take time to meditate and to imagine our new world and our new self

Once the objectives are in place and our duties done, we must create an attitude and a style that propel us to new heights in a controlled but constant motion.

This book is full of tips on goal setting and winning attitudes and some new, well-thought-out concepts that give Root's approach a strong spiritual foundation. He explains that a belief in God plays an important part in his life as well as serving as a component of his technique for converting failure into success.

One of the most poignant passages from the book: "Lasting success has nothing to do with money. It has to do with health, happiness and satisfaction. It has to do with the people we love. It has to do with how you feel at the end of the day. It has to do with how many lives you've touched. It has to do with how you will be remembered long after you die. It has to do with balance--a synergy of ambition, drive, tenacity, welded to love, compassion, and integrity. Wealth is simply a byproduct of a life lived with passion and purpose."

Terry Anderson, CRS®, is a broker associate with RE/MAX-Advanced Inc., Fort Collins, Colo.

Walt Albro is a former senior editor for REALTOR® Magazine.

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