I’ve worked with thousands of people over the years by running three different businesses. My current profession is a commercial photographer, where I get the pleasure of hanging out with real estate agents and business professionals most days. I’m one of those individuals who observe others. Their actions, their reactions, their genetics and their nature and the stuff that makes us tick. I have a vested interest in discovering the character of people. It’s actually so I can connect better with myself.
Real estate agents have much to benefit from in great interactions. So, how do you start? How do you get people to look your way and pay attention, desiring to do business with you?
I have some ideas that could help –
1. Start with your advertising campaign
Does it reflect who you are, your style, and your personality? Do you incorporate a portrait in all of your ads, a symbol or something that sets you apart visually? If not, you’re missing out on advertising opportunities! If you are, is it a standard portrait or does it reveal some character?
One of the biggest mistakes is starting off with a non-existent or bad picture. Update ‘YOU’ all the time. People love seeing new and fresh images of you. That’s what social media is all about! The most likes anyone is sure to get will be on a picture of themselves. People aren’t invested in funny videos like they are in you. They’ll actively tell you they think your image is awesome or beautiful while a shared video will get watched, with little if any notoriety of who it belongs to or came from.
Your portrait in advertising needs to set you apart. Agents create excuses like this one, “I really like my last professional photo years ago; however I hate my look now” as their reason for not updating their portrait. Crazy, but true! How are people to recognize you if your image looks nothing like you?
2. Mastering the art of conversation
If you love yourself, others will love you. Don’t be afraid to be who you are. There are plenty of people in the world with your same personality that you’ll find easy to connect with.
What personality type attracts the most buyers? Honestly, I’ve seen every single personality be successful but the most common ground is that they figured out a way to connect with others.
Here are a few suggestions within this tip:
• Mimicking gestures and holding your posture in the same manner as the person you’re speaking with is oddly subconsciously comforting and familiar.
• Using the same voice inflections and excitement level can do it too.
• If someone is low energy do the same, high energy, find you’re inner energizer bunny.
• Don’t drag on too long with your stories. Time is valuable and we always feel like we don’t have enough. If you see them fold their arms and have shifty eyes, it’s a sign that they are done listening.
However, it doesn’t mean the conversation is over. It just means quickly to get them to talk about themselves. They’ll be more entertained once they do this.
• Be prepared with questions. Have a few go-to questions that just really get conversations going. Make sure the questions aren’t too personal. People get a little uncomfortable divulging this stuff to a stranger.
• Don’t be afraid to take the time to share stories about yourself. Be less business oriented and more about being a friend. America is definitely turned off by advertising. We are inundated all day every day so one more advertisement can rub us the wrong way.
Through my networking group, I’ve met a lot of financial advisors. I picked the one who actively wanted to hang out and get to know me, and one that seemed to have a personality like mine. We all want to express ourselves and be who we are inside; so we find like mind people we feel most at home and don’t have to censor ourselves.
It’s always draining to be someone your not. There are enough individuals you’ll find that are more like you. If you’re shy and reserved, you can still be that; start small. Look for another shy person to talk to. Even start your conversation based on that. You’ll connect instantly if you talk about how you have a hard time going up to random people and talking to them. They’ll completely understand it because they’re scared too – boom; instant connection.
3. Be the helpful person
Be genuine, honest and caring and you’ll attract your market whether you are aware of it or not. There are three agents that stick out in my mind that unknowingly taught me a bit about business. Their secret is that they have the ability to give without any expectation of something in return.
Emily Hayes: She happened to catch me as she was leaving her office, noticed that I was offering passes to an expo and stopped to say hi. We connected instantly where she was once a photographer herself. With this connection she offered something instantly as though we’d known each other for years. She invited me into a women’s networking group, where I would be able to grow my business even further. This has been huge and has opened many doors for me. Without our first meeting, I would not be where I am today. In less than a year she has been able to get 16 houses closed or in the process. That’s huge!
John Park: He saw an opportunity to provide help and jumped on it. He introduced us to Coldwell Banker to do their headshots for their agents and brokers. The rest is history!
Paul Montgomery: Has been a great guy to talk to. By complimenting us and giving us some feedback on how he felt when he came into our studio, was priceless. We were able to connect and have great conversations.
I hope all of these agents remain friends and that someday I’ll be able to return the favor. I’ve learned to take it easy, be less of a sales person and be more of a friend. It’s what makes my job fun.
In all reality, I’m sure you were all aware of these tips; however, if you’re like me, they don’t really stand out or come to the forefront of my mind unless they are told to you directly. Get a stand out picture, connect, and be helpful! People will usually recall you when they are in need of your services even if its years down the road. Be patient, persistent and enjoy meeting new people.