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5 tips to create strong first impressions every time

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broker-shaking-hands-224097-edited-1In commercial real estate success often boils down to the strength of your relationships. Whether it’s finding a mentor or securing new clients, all relationships start with a first impression. That impression sets the tone for everything to come.

While that may sound daunting, the good news is we have the power to consistently create excellent first impressions.

So from simple things like smiling to working to create an aura of self-confidence, master these five habits to start making the best impressions possible.

1. Smile

Researchers have found that we make important, lasting decisions about people we’ve just met within the first few minutes of seeing them. While nobody knows exactly how long it takes us to form a first impression, estimates range from a just few seconds to several minutes.

There isn’t much we can do in such a short amount of time, but we can certainly smile! Smiling makes you instantly more likable, and considering your facial expressions are one of the first things people see, it’s one of the easiest ways to help create a positive impression.

2. Exude confidence

When selecting a CRE broker, people want to work with someone who has what it takes to bring their deal across the finish line. Do you look and act the part?

Pay attention to your body language. Do you tend to slouch or keep your hands in your pockets? These habits do not convey confidence and help create a negative impression.

Work to ensure that your general appearance and the tone of your voice radiate confidence. While it may take some time to master these habits, doing so will make others more comfortable working with you and help you build stronger relationships.

3. Prepare

It’s natural to feel uncomfortable when you aren’t prepared. It’s also easy to miss opportunities when you forget what you want to say. Either way, being unprepared is an easy way to create a bad impression.

To prevent that, take a few moments to think through what you’re going to say before meeting or calling someone for the first time. You don’t have to write an essay, just gather your thoughts and get in the mindset for the upcoming conversation. Doing so will boost your confidence and make the conversation more productive.

4. Listen

On the other hand, don’t dominate the discussion. While you may have a lot to say, listening to others validates them and gives you the opportunity to learn more about how you could work together.

While you’re listening make sure to maintain friendly eye contact throughout the discussion. There’s no easier way to annoy someone than by looking at your phone the whole time they’re talking.

And finally, don’t forget names! Using someone’s name is one of the easiest ways to get their attention while showing you respect them enough to remember it.

5. Don’t neglect emails

The above tips are helpful for meeting in person and talking on the phone (smiling on the phone does make a difference), and while first impressions are always strongest when made in person, sometimes it’s just not possible to meet or schedule a call. In that case your first email serves as your first impression.

To make the strongest impression possible over email, start by making sure you’ve spelled the recipient’s name right. This seems obvious, but so many people overlook this and end up unknowingly starting a conversation on the wrong foot.

Then consider opening your email with a personalized sentence or two directly aimed at the recipient. This helps build a personal connection by showing you aren’t just using a copy and paste template that you send to everyone.

Finally, pay attention to your closing signature. You want this to look professional, it’s the only appearance they’ll see after all, so make sure it at least includes your name, company and phone number. You can also add a company logo, any social media pages you actively market on and your blog, if you have one.

Like it or not, first impressions are important. Science shows we make lasting decisions about new people very quickly, and while that may be a bit intimidating, there’s no point trying to change human psychology. Instead, use the above tips to master the art of creating excellent first impressions and start building relationships that will propel your career forward.