Unlocking Your First Impression with Real Estate Clients

Man adjusting tie

Your parents were right: you only get one chance to make a first impression. It takes just seven seconds for a person to size up and judge another. And once that first impression is made, it can be very hard to change that person’s mind.

So how do you get it right? How do you make sure that you are sending the right first impression to your real estate clients every time? Read on to discover the top 7 ways to make and keep the right first impression.

Clothing and personal appearance
It can be a hard truth to swallow, but clients aren’t just buying a house, they are also buying you. The same amount of attention that goes into staging a home should also be put into your own personal appearance.

The first thing a client is going to notice about you is how you dress. Clothing should be professional and up-to-date. Shoes should be polished and in good condition. Hair, makeup, and jewelry should also be professional and current. Sometimes we can get into a fashion rut and think that what we’re wearing is completely fine. When in doubt, ask a coworker or a stylist for a truly honest opinion about the message your appearance may be sending. Be brave—it’s not personal, it’s business.

Smells
Too much cologne or perfume can be overpowering and distracting. For about 2 million people in the U.S., it can also cause an allergic reaction, which would be a terrible first impression. If you do choose to wear a scent, go easy on it and be discreet. A little goes a long way.

Car
Yes, it does matter what you drive. If you arrive to a meeting with a client in a car that you can’t be proud of, clients could draw conclusions about your business acumen or even your standards. Make sure that your car is clean, free of scratches and dents, and, if possible, up-to-date.

Before picking up clients to take them to view houses, ensure that your car is as clean and fresh as a rental car. Avoid hanging personal items from the rear-view mirror, remove anything from the interior of the car that isn’t work-related, never leave trash in the car, and skip the bumper stickers. Your car is a work vehicle and in a way, an extension of your office. If you wouldn’t have it out in plain sight on your desk, don’t bring it into your car.

Demeanor
Beyond the physical first impressions, there is also your body language and behavior to consider. A strong posture, firm handshake, and eye contact can all convey an air of confidence and capability. Be the first person to say hello, extend your hand with a smile and give the air that you are eager to introduce yourself and get to know your client. Don’t brag or namedrop. Instead behave as the consummate professional you are while being relaxed.

Clients can smell fear. If they think you are nervous, they may conclude that they cannot place their trust in you. That being said, you also don’t want to swing the other way and come across as overconfident or a braggart. It’s a fine line to balance and it can take some practice, but it is important to gaining the best first impression.

To gauge where you are in your first impression demeanor skills, practice with a coworker or friend. Greet them as you would a client you would be meeting for the first time and then discuss their reaction. It may seem silly to role-play, but the feedback you receive can be vital.

Business card
Neat, clean, easy to read, and complete with a great head shot photo. That’s what a business card should be. What a business card should not be is cluttered, overdone or replete with desperately small font. You want clients to not just be able to contact you, but to be able to find out more about you. Be sure to include your website address, LinkedIn, Facebook, and/or Twitter information. These links should be the full address or handle information and not just the logo for the social media of your choice to avoid being confused with someone else.

Your business card is an extension of you. Satisfied clients may pass your business card along to the next person, which means it could end up doing the talking for you. If you can, spend time and money on a professional business card. It deserves as much attention and care as your personal appearance.

Website
Like your business card, your website and Facebook pages are extensions and reflections of you. As with your business card, they should be neat, tidy, employ a great head shot photo, and be easy-to-use. Like your personal appearance, they should be up-to-date, professional and be relevant to your industry. While your family photos, political posts, and jokes should be kept to your personal Facebook page, use your website to share information and boost client confidence. Share your customer service philosophy and how you feel you can help home buyers and/or sellers. Let your values and personality shine through, and don’t be afraid to share relevant awards and industry accolades you have received.  Learn more about business Facebook pages.

Always leave on a positive note
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou said that and she was right. Do your best to present yourself in the beginning when you first meet your client, but also end your meeting on a positive note. Lean on something positive for the future. Let them know that you are looking forward to your next meeting, bring up future showings or positive next steps in the buying or selling process. By keeping things upbeat and forward thinking, they will hold positive associations with you. And that will be a great first impression.

Bonus tip!
Want to give a positive boost to a first impression? Follow up a first meeting with a warm email message or hand written card reminding them of positive highlights from your meeting and recapping your desire to help them find the right buyer or new home.

This blog/website is made available by CRES Insurance Services for educational purposes to give you general information and understanding of legal risks and insurance options, not to provide specific legal advice. This blog/website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. Claims examples are for illustrative purposes only. Read your policy for a complete description of what is covered and excluded.

Originally Published July 1, 2015

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