Published by Kartik Subramaniam
When you're in sales, the first impression can be the gateway to success. For real estate agents, it's the first step down a long and potentially lucrative path. The good news is that working on your first impression will serve not just your career, but every other relationship you have in life. I wanted to write a blog post to take you through what a solid first impression looks like, how it helps you better relate to your clients, and what their takeaway will mean for your bottom line.
Most of making a good first impression is common sense. However, just because it's easy to understand, doesn't mean it's easy to do. Even natural extroverts have to continually practice their manners and mannerisms before they get it right.
Smile: Nearly half of all Americans say that the smile is the most memorable feature after meeting someone new. A fresh-faced smile sends a signal to people that you're happy to work with them and you're ready to get the work done.
Focus: When it comes to meeting new clients, the nervousness of making a good first impression can be enough to force your head down. Eye contact is both polite and helps forge an instant connection with clients.
Listen: Anyone who's ever dealt with a salesperson knows how frustrating it can be to feel as though your words are going straight into the wind. Active listening means paying attention, asking questions, and responding to the clients' real concerns.
A first impression is more than just following the basics. Picture the guy with the comically huge grin plastered on his face, the woman with off putting eye contact, or the agent who effusively responds to every statement as if it's the most fascinating thing they've ever heard. In the strictest sense of the word, they're smiling, listening, and focusing, but they still aren't leaving the right impression.
To really master the directions, you need to practice sincerity with each step. Express genuine emotion when appropriate, but remember that subtlety can also go a long way. Give a small grin when meeting people and save the teeth for the last minute. Follow-up on client statements that are vague or need further information. Blink normally when making eye contact and don't be afraid of looking down for a second if the conversation is getting too intense.
Practicing your first impression doesn't necessarily mean going to your local bar and talking to endless strangers. It can be as simple as setting up role-playing with people you already know and trust. Have them provide honest feedback and constructive criticism about the sincerity of your smile, the volume of your voice, and the firmness of your handshake. These comments can go a long way if you're trying to understand how other people see you during their first interaction.
When you're shaking someone's hand, look into their eyes and strike a balance between death grip and limp. Use the first name as quickly as possible during the conversation so you're less likely to forget their names halfway through. Make sure that you’re annunciating your words and the volume of your voice is appropriate for the context of the environment.
Once you've taken care of some of the more subjective aspects of the first impression, you should have a much easier time addressing the more practical work of meeting someone. Being prepared can be as simple as getting to a meeting early or donning a sports coat or blazer to make your outfit just a touch more professional.
Before you meet with clients, it helps to know as much as possible about what they're looking for. Even if it's as simple as knowing they want a duplex rather than a single-family. The art of sales can get complicated, so it helps to hit the ground running.
As tempting as it can be to remain neutral during your meeting, blandness will ultimately not help you be memorable. The truth is that even the most successful real estate agent may turn off a client or two with their personality, but it's ultimately better than being seen as forgettable. You can still be polite and respectful while expressing your personal opinions.
To stay on topic and to maximize the first few seconds with a client, some agents may give a short elevator speech where they emphasize their particular brand. So whether you're a bulldog in negotiations or the master of the short escrow, letting clients know upfront can be a good way to stand out.
Unlike most traditional sales, successfully navigating a property sale can take months or longer. If you hope to maintain your reputation and relationship with your clients for that long, you need to get off on the right foot. Use these tips to stand out from the crowd, so you're the one who ends up growing customer base.
This may be a slightly different blog post than I normally write, but so many of our real estate school students express their nervousness in meeting clients early in their careers. Hope this helps.
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