Recently, I had the chance to interview Jonathan Sprinkles – aka, “The Connection Coach” – and we got on the subject of first impressions.
As a real estate agent, your first impression is everything. It’s what sets you apart from the other agents that are competing for the same business, and it’s what ultimately helps you to secure both clients and sales. If you’re having trouble closing deals, it could be your first impression that’s tanking your numbers. Here’s what you need to know about nailing this initial point of contact:
Understand consistency theory
Psychology has a concept that’s known as “consistency theory” – basically, people tend to filter in all of the information that’s consistent with the first impressions they have of others and filter out the information that’s inconsistent.
Here’s how that works in practice… Suppose you’ve switched insurance plans and are interviewing new primary care doctors. You set up an appointment with a doctor who’s known to have a great reputation in your community, but he winds up running a half hour late to meet with you. Now, no matter how great a doctor he is or how many lives he’s saved, you’re always going to view him through the lens of this negative first impression.
Your prospective customers and your other contacts all do the same things with you. They take the way you dress, the colors you wear, the first things you say and even whether or not you’re smiling at your first meeting and then use that first impression as the basis for all their future interactions with you.
This might seem intimidating, but what it really means is that, if you put in the effort needed to make a great first impression, you stand to benefit from that initial interaction over the course of your relationship with your new contact.
Pre-heat your connections
Of course, if you’re concerned about your ability to consistently make good first impressions, you aren’t entirely out of luck. Really, the best way to make a new connection is to pre-plan how the connection will occur.
Jonathan Sprinkles calls this “pre-heating.” If you know that you have an upcoming meeting with a new contact you want to impress, consider establishing some type of connection before the face-to-face interaction. For example, if you have a listing appointment scheduled with a prospective customer, send a postcard, a small gift or flowers – anything that helps to build positive consistency before your actual meeting.
Now, when you go to your appointment, your prospect will be pre-heated and ready to get to yes. You’ll automatically see fewer objections and concerns, simply because the concept of consistency is already working in your favor.
The more you connect, the more you collect
I’ve talked about the importance of setting a productive schedule and dedicating time to prospecting before, but Jonathan phrased this idea really well – “the more you connect, the more you collect.”
Real estate is a people business. If you don’t know many people, you won’t attract many clients – and you certainly won’t get many sales. If you want to increase the number of sales you make, you have to increase the number of connections you have.
Fortunately, there are tons of different ways to do this. Certainly, proper prospecting plays a role in growing the size of your personal circle, but constantly connecting is about more than that. Talk to people in line at the grocery store, at your kids’ soccer games – everywhere you go, you’re facing a new opportunity to connect with somebody.
If the thought of all that connecting makes you feel nervous, Jonathan’s website – www.greatspeakingtips.net – offers plenty of helpful advice to make the process less painful. Add his tips to your daily life and watch how quickly you’re able to get to “Yes!”