Whether you like it or not, first impressions matter. Even though it’s hard for someone to truly know you after a single encounter, your goal as a real estate agent should (obviously) always be to make a positive first impression when meeting new clients.
After years of working as a real estate agent—and then several more years spent launching a real estate CRM company—I’ve made my fair share of first impressions, and I’ve been on the receiving end of just as many. In this post, I’ll share what I’ve learned about how you can make that first encounter with a client result in a positive first impression.
- Take a nice headshot. First impressions don't always happen in person. If a potential client finds you online, they'll make an initial judgement based on your photograph. And, according to research, this first impression might influence their perception of you even after they've interacted with you in person. So don't skimp on a nice, professional headshot!
- Set an intention. An article by Forbes suggests spending some time prior to your meetings to set an intention. If you’re meeting with a young couple ready to buy their first home, think about ways that you can be approachable and reassuring. If you have a phone call with a new high-budget client, you will need to focus on demonstrating confidence and expertise.
- Be authentic. Ditch the smarmy sales tactics. Be open and honest about yourself and your process. Your clients would much rather talk to a real person than hear a scripted sales pitch. To learn more, check out our blog post on how real estate agents can practice the art of authenticity.
- Use positive body language. Inc.com columnist Peter Economy suggests starting with a firm (but not too firm) handshake, focusing on good posture, leaning in to show that you’re interested in what they are saying, maintaining eye contact, and not being afraid to laugh when it's appropriate.
- Listen. Make sure you aren’t the one talking the entire time. Come prepared with questions, then listen—really listen—to their answers and take notes. You’ll be able to gain a lot from this first meeting, and they'll appreciate your commitment to understanding their homebuying or selling needs.
- Dress to impress. It's not about being the coolest kid in school; it's just that your clothes directly impact people's first impressions of you. So consider it part of your job to dress well. Business Insider has some good tips—iron out the wrinkles, don't show too much skin, and wear clothes that fit you well.
- Don’t be late. Show your client that this meeting is important to you by showing up on time.
- Over-prepare. They may not need a printed version of your Step-By-Step Guide To Buying Your First Home, but carry it with you anyways. They might say they only have five minutes to talk, but block out 30 minutes on your schedule, just in case things change. Practice pronouncing their last name during your drive over. Over-prepare, and you’re almost guaranteed a smooth first meeting and a great first impression.
What steps do you take to make a positive first impression on your clients?