First impressions count

Private Property South Africa
Tahir Desai

First impressions count for estate agentsWithin a few seconds of meeting you, people quickly form opinions about you. This snap judgment of you might not be true, but can define your relationship with that person.

If you work in property, your job is all about cultivating relationships. Start off a relationship with a prospect on the wrong foot and they probably won’t become a client.

The first impression you make is therefore crucial for your success in the real estate business.

Here are the dos and don’ts of making a good first impression:

Do this:

Show up on time

Keeping a prospective client waiting creates the impression that you don’t think they’re important. Yes, you’re busy and spend a lot of time on the road but you need to be punctual. For many people, punctuality equals reliability. A person who thinks you’re unreliable is not going to want to work with you on a professional basis.

Dress like a professional

Looks count. You want to look like a professional the first time you meet a prospect – not like you’re on your way to a braai. Smart business attire is the way to go. And don’t forget to brush your hair and check that your breath is minty-fresh.

Make the conversation about them

Show interest in the prospect by making the conversation about them, not yourself. Ask interesting open-ended questions about them, their work and how you can help them with their real estate needs. This allows you to show that you care and differentiates you from the competition.

Don’t do this:

Start with the hard sell

Don’t jump straight in with your toughest sales pitch. If you haven’t established any relationship with them, yet alone a genuine one, you’re going to offend them by launching into a presentation about how you’re the best agent in your area. Establish their needs first, then let them know how you can fulfil those needs.

Use aggressive body language

Perfect your body language. You want to appear attentive but not aggressive. Lean in to show that you are listening but not so close that you make them uncomfortable. Shake their hand firmly but not so firmly that they need a trip to the ER afterwards. Don’t cross your arms because that will make you appear unapproachable. Make eye contact, stand up straight and smile.

Employ offensive humour and bad language

Using offensive or bad language the first time you meet someone is guaranteed to offend. If you’re meeting someone for the first time you might be nervous and attempt to alleviate the nervousness by saying something silly. Do this and you come across as unprofessional. Rather get over your nervousness by practicing your small talk and presentation so that you’re calm when you meet them.

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