As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and with the launching of the new real estate capability of my firm, I’ve been focused on that old adage more than ever. I’ve been meeting new people constantly, from other realtors to corporate builders to potential clients, I’ve been painfully aware of the fact that those initial defining moments can be the determining factor for whether my firm is hired or not.

One of the things I’ve had to remember is our first impression is very rarely a face-to-face “hello” with the person on the other end.  First contact is often made by email, phone, IM, social media, or even through a receptionist or personal assistant, and even if this connection is not in-person with me, it’ll still have a lasting impact on how I’m perceived personally and professionally.  So, I’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that this impact is positive. I’ve retrained my staff on the basics – everything from answering the phone in a positive and upbeat manner to proper email etiquette so that non-verbal cues are easily presented and nothing is misconstrued. I’ve made sure that my website and social media sites are free of typos and grammatical errors and that, aesthetically, it’s a balance between the professionalism and personal image that I want people to get about who I am.

When I do make a one-to-one contact with a potential client or colleague, I make sure they get the highlight of the message I want to convey: I value their business and their time.  For a schedule as hectic and busy as mine, that often means slowing down and taking the time to have a conversation without rushing to get off the phone or get through the meeting. Of course, anyone I meet knows that I have other clients and other responsibilities, but it’s my job to make sure that they know their project is important and worth my time.

On that same note, no matter how many emails I have in my inbox, I always respond to communications in a timely manner.  My standard of service guarantees a response within 24 hours, and I find that the quicker you respond to a client, the more likely they are to be pleased with this first impression. A good way I’ve learned to stay on top of this is to allot a special time out of your day – an hour, let’s say – dedicated to communication response and avoiding an insurmountable mountain of messages.

It’s not an exhaustive list of how-to’s, but I’m hoping that this focus on delivering a positive impression right off the bat and following through with a superior standard of service will be just the recipe I need to establish a competitive brand in the marketplace.

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