First impressions are everything—especially in the real estate profession, where the success of your business is directly correlated to the relationships you build. You only have one chance to make a great first impression, so it’s important to keep this in your mind when meeting new real estate prospects. Here are five ways to make sure that your first impression as a real estate professional makes a positive impact.
- Prepare talking points.
When meeting new real estate clients, you want to do your homework and find out who you are meeting, what they are looking for and anything about them that could become a talking point to keep a healthy flow of conversation. In the sales industry, this is often called “lead intelligence.”
Prepare two or three talking points that you believe are important to the client. If you have spoken to them over the phone before meeting in person, go over your notes from the conversation so that you can show them you’re a good listener and understand their wants and needs. Meeting with a client without being prepared could give them the impression that you are unprofessional and unorganized.
- Be mindful of body language.
Body language often says more than words. When you first meet a real estate client, it is perfectly normal to be a little nervous, but you don’t want this nervousness to become overwhelming. Your body language should show that you are confident and comfortable.
Simple poses can improve your confidence. Before your meeting, take long strides, sit up straight and walk with your chest high—even if this isn’t your usual way of being. If you are meeting an especially important client, it may be helpful to videotape yourself to see how you look to others. You could also practice with a real estate mentor or colleague to gain feedback on how you can improve.
Remember: When you are uncomfortable, your body language will show it, and it will make your clients uncomfortable, as well. Be confident in yourself.
- Find common ground.
The easiest way to make a great first impression is to find common ground so that you are relatable. You don’t need to get too technical with this, either. The common ground could be that you like the same sports teams, went to the same college or have children the same age. You just need to establish a connection on a human level.
Take a peek at your client’s social media pages to get the inside scoop on what could become a talking point. LinkedIn is an easy starting point to find out this kind of information. Don’t underestimate the power of small talk to get a conversation going. The more you know, the better your chances of making a long-lasting connection.
- Be engaging and engage.
Don’t feel like you have to impress your client with an overbearing amount of knowledge. You don’t need to wow your client, but you do need to create a conversation that is natural and memorable.
Listen to what your client has to say and make them feel comfortable. People love to talk about themselves, their family and even their pets. So utilize that tool and be sure to ask open-ended and thoughtful questions. Make your real estate–related questions open-ended as well. This can help you gain valuable information about how you can help them and what they are passionate about. It will also show them that you will take care of their needs.
- Play up strengths.
Ask colleagues and friends you trust to tell you what they see as your strengths and most likable qualities. Emphasize these strengths in your initial meeting with clients to ensure a successful first impression. Think about compliments you often receive and highlight these things when you first meet a new real estate client.
If people say that you have a genuine interest in others, play that up by asking open-ended questions and engaging in conversation that helps you get to know your client and helps your client get to know you.
Overview: How to Make a Good First Impression
- Plan ahead and gather talking points.
- Don’t forget the importance of relaxed body language.
- Ask for feedback from friends and colleagues on your best characteristics, and emphasize these in your first meeting.
- Ask the right open-ended questions to make your client feel comfortable and taken care of.
- Play up your strengths to help clients see why you’re a good fit.
Good relationships are a key driver in being a successful agent. The more comfortable and sincere you are in your first meeting, the more likely you’ll be to make a great first impression, and the more successful you will be in your real estate career.
Alexis Petersen is the director of Content at Real Estate Express, a national leader in online learning for pre-licensing, continuing education and professional development. For the last six years she has been educating real estate professionals on how to successfully launch and advance their career. She’s also a seasoned marketing veteran, with nearly 15 years of experience.