8 Tips for Real Estate Agents to Make a Great First Impression
October 26, 2016
Drumming up new business is an art form, and that first introductory meeting with a client can make or break whether or not you score the listing.
By putting your best foot forward from day one, you have the opportunity to develop lasting relationships, show your clients how much you appreciate their business and how hard you’ll work for them.
Here are eight tips for making a great first impression:
Do some prep work: When a potential client calls to schedule an appointment, ask a few quick questions that will give you some insights into who they are (e.g., do they have kids, where do they work?) and what their interests may be (any hobbies that would impact their desired location?). Ultimately, this will help you prepare for the meeting — such as finding sample properties and locating a few neighborhoods they may be interested in — as well as break the ice and build rapport.
Remember: Potential clients will probably do some prep work, too, by researching your background online. So, be sure to keep your LinkedIn and other social media sites up-to-date and reflective of your skills, expertise and interests.
Pick the right location, and be on time: In order to make a good first impression, be sure you aren’t late to your first meeting. In fact, showing up a few minutes early to get settled is always a good idea. There is also a certain level of risk to meeting a new client for the first time. For safety reasons, it’s beneficial to meet at your office first. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) explains that you should get the clients on your territory first, before you visit any property with them. While they’re in your office, be sure to collect their personal information and file it appropriately. Other safety tips include asking for identification, and introducing them to a coworker.
Dress to impress: You only get one first impression, and presenting a polished image will reinforce your professionalism and expertise. While there has been a shift to more business casual attire in recent years, Realty Times says that agents should still be in a business suit. If suits aren’t your thing, consider wearing one for the preliminary meeting, and shifting to business casual when visiting or selling listings with your clients. You want to be yourself, but always reflecting a polished, professional appearance. Looking for some styling advice? Check out these tips from realtormag.com.
Ask the right questions: Before arriving at the meeting, compile a list of key questions you want to ask your client. This will ensure you walk away from the consultation with all the information you need to immediately get started helping them buy or sell their home. As you prepare, check out this list of 20 questions to ask sellers from the National Association of Realtors, which includes things like desired sale price, timeline and details of the home. If you’re speaking with a buyer, prepare questions such as their desired location, number of rooms they’d like, and budget. When speaking with either buyers or sellers, be sure to ask if they’re already working with an agent and how they were referred to you. Despite their reason for contacting you (perhaps they’re not happy with their agent, or they’re just looking for new support), you may not want to step on the toes of a colleague.
Actively listen: Showing you’re connected is important, but during your first meeting, give your potential client your undivided attention. Put your smartphone away so it’s not buzzing and causing a distraction. Check out these tips for actively listening from mindtools.com®.
Have the right tech tools handy — and know when to use them: While ditching your smartphone during the preliminary meeting is a good idea, still have it and your tablet or laptop nearby, especially if you did your research and pulled a few sample listings in advance of the meeting. If your client is ready to dive in, this will show you planned ahead, are always prepared, and are ready to immediately help them find their dream home. Looking for helpful technology and apps to support your day-to-day work? We’ve got 8 apps for agents on the go.
Separate yourself from the competition: Placester recommends highlighting your abilities as an agent and the experience you’re bringing to the table. Start by explaining why you’re passionate about real estate and sharing a bit about your background. Additionally, highlight your credentials (e.g., I’m a licensed Realtor®), the many markets you’re familiar with, and the types of homes you’ve sold, your communication style, the types of technology you have access to. Just be cautious about saying you’re a step above the competition, as this may come off as arrogant.
Follow up in a timely manner: Immediately following the meeting,send a quick thank you note and outline any next steps you’ve both agreed on. Additionally, make quick work of those next steps, such as connecting them to software to search for listings, flagging key listings, and scheduling showings. This will show you’re on top of your game and making the client your top priority.