You've chosen a seat facing the door and memorised their photograph so you'll recognise them when they arrive. You've pictured this meeting plenty of times in your head, but now you're nervously watching the clock and straightening your carefully chosen outfit, checking the mirror to be sure there's nothing in your teeth. They walk in right on time, and you put on your best smile.
You'd be forgiven for thinking this is a date, but it's not: You're a realtor meeting a prospective client for the first time. It might not be obvious at first, but there are some unusual similarities between dating and real estate.
Before the meeting
When arranging a date, you're likely to know something about the other person already. You may have seen their online dating profile, exchanged text messages or been told about their profession or interests through a friend of a friend. Knowing something about them makes it easier to find common ground, and this prior knowledge is equally important when meeting a new client.
Find out what they're looking for ahead of the meeting so you can be prepared, which will demonstrate that you're enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Perhaps you could bring some files that just so happen to match their dream home, or 'spontaneously' decide to show them a house near the café in which you strategically arranged to meet. This will make you memorable in a good way, which is what first dates are all about.
A good first impression sets you apart from the crowd, so it's important to get it right. Aim to arrive at least ten minutes early so that when the client arrives, you'll be able to greet them looking professional and not flustered or rushing. Give them with a warm, sincere smile and a firm but friendly handshake. This will certainly help to start the relationship, of either nature, on the right foot.
Eye contact is important to show you're engaged and listening, although lingering looks are only acceptable if you're actually on a date. Focus on them rather than on your phone or laptop screen, and certainly don't reply to other prospective clients or dates while you're talking to them. That would be enough to turn anyone off.
Provided the first encounter went well, you're going to want to follow up. The first move must be yours, thanking them for their time and saying how much you enjoyed the meeting. Show that you're a good listener by referencing something your client said during your meeting and provide a fitting response. It's important to be enthusiastic, but try to limit the number of exclamation marks used to one; you don't want to seem desperate.
Then, it's a waiting game. If your date, or client, responds quickly and positively, you know this could grow into something truly special. However, if you receive a one-word response days later, they simply may not be that into you.
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