Making a Good First Impression

When you are starting out in your property business, it will serve you well to give the impression that you are already a successful property entrepreneur.

Perception is reality and most people in the property universe, from estate agents to motivated sellers, won’t give you the time of day if you have a whiff of amateurism about you.

If you give the impression that you are always busy, people will want to work with you.

Even if you’ve nothing to do that day other than walk your dog or binge on Netflix, try not to appear TOO eager to arrange business meetings, have a chat over coffee with potential clients etc.

Don’t answer your phone in 0.5 seconds every time the number of someone who wants to do business with you pops up. Believe us, you’ll get a lot more respect if you’re hard to track down rather than being too eager to please, like a docile family pet.

When you do deign to answer your phone, go through the motions of pretending to check your diary and giving it a bit of “I could maybe fit you in for half an hour a week on Thursday as I’m very, very busy this week.” This will give you instant ‘professional’ status.

Don’t take it too far, though. Think of it like a date. Saying you can meet someone in a month’s time as you’re so inundated with offers will give off the impression that you are a top-notch narcissist or bullshitter. Read the room – a week or so is generally fine, although occasionally you will be tempted to jump in quickly to snap up a once-in-a-lifetime bargain. 

There’s no such thing, though, so play it cool. There will always be fresh bargains, new clients, new deals. So stop and smell the roses.

If you give the impression that you have all the time in the world, people will perceive you as some sort of waster or hippy. And there aren’t too many of those who are successful property investors. In fact, there are none.

When you do set up a face-to-face meeting, the way you dress will make a significant impression on any potential clients or other professionals.

Try the smart but casual approach. Always wear a shirt (or blouse), rather than a t-shirt. It doesn’t matter if your t-shirt cost you £300 – it’s still a bloody t-shirt and you will come over like a louche playboy rather than a serious player.

I wouldn’t bother with a tie, unless you’re directly applying to your bank manager for a huge whack of finance or you’re meeting with the kind of old-school investors who probably go to bed wearing ties (there are a few left). 

And don’t even think of wearing a tie if you’re a woman – you’ll look like a Spitting Image puppet.

Keep it appropriate. Again, read the room. Think about what kind of impression someone would give you if they were badly dressed at a formal meeting. Look in the mirror and ask yourself: “Would I ever want to do business with this person?” If the answer is yes, you’ve chosen the correct ensemble from your wardrobe.

When you arrive at a meeting with someone you’ve never clapped eyes on before, always offer your hand (male or female) before anything else. This says ‘I am warm, I am approachable, I am trustworthy.’

Slow down your breathing and try not to fidget. Keep your hands still when you speak (unless this is culturally appropriate). Nervous people make other people feel nervous too – and your potential deal just flew out of the window.

Don’t be over-eager to speak (nerves again!) and when you do, keep it brief and on-message. You’re not in a bar with your friends so don’t babble away inconsequentially – this could be life-changing for you.

Get your point(s) across in as few words as possible. Respect the other person’s time and personal space. Smile. But not too much as you’ll be perceived as too eager to please or possibly on drugs!

And, finally, NEVER BE LATE. Not even by a minute (“traffic, blah blah blah”). Because if you are late, congratulations, you just failed at the first hurdle. Back to square one you go.

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