When you’re a real estate agent, EVERY impression matters.
Case in point: I recently decided to purchase a cottage/income property. I chose an established tourist zone, far outside of my home city, and called my preferred real estate agent who referred me to a Realtor in the area.
When I returned from our first tour of available homes, I immediately called the referring real estate agent. “Have you ever been in his car?” I asked.
Things had started well. As I stepped into his office, I felt calm and relaxed. I arrived on time and he was waiting for me. His office looked tidy and comfortable, and he offered me coffee in a to-go cup, which was fantastic because we had an early start. I followed him to his vehicle and that’s where things started to go downhill.
The outside of his vehicle was dusty, and I could see children’s stickers stuck to the windows. The door creaked as it opened, and I had to move someone’s coat to sit down. My foot landed on a McDonald’s wrapper and, when he started the car, an electric guitar sliced through the speakers. He quickly turned off the radio and we entered traffic in silence.
I mulled over my impression of him in his office vs. his car while he cut off another driver to turn into a gas station. As he filled the tank, I hoped we’d make it to our first appointment on time.
The takeaway from my experience is that every impression counts. When someone’s about to make a large purchase such as a home, they’re more likely to look for any clue or indication that something could go wrong. Not surprisingly, I was uncomfortable going with a Realtor who lacked attention to detail, basic time management and organizational skills.
So, Real Estate Agents. Before you offer a new or prospective client a ride in your vehicle, take two minutes to give it an inspection:
- Have you run your vehicle through a car wash recently?
- Are there miscellaneous items or clutter on the seats or floor?
- Is your interior clean? Look for dust on the dash or windshield, and stains on the upholstery.
- Is your gas tank full?
- Is your radio turned down or off?
- Are there any annoying noises, warning lights or something that might rattle a nervous passenger?
- Does your car smell fresh and clean?
- Do you have the route mapped out or pre-programmed into your GPS?
- If your phone is connected to your car via Bluetooth, is your phone turned off?
- Is your trunk clear? This will matter if the client must catch a flight right after the showing or some other extenuating circumstance pops up.
This two-minute inspection should be done weekly, not just a few minutes before you meet your client. That way, you’re not dealing with stress or emergencies.
Your vehicle may not be the most expensive, sporty or luxurious but that won’t matter to most buyers. What will matter is how well you care for and service your vehicle, as buyers are likely to make a mental connection between that and how you might provide care and service throughout your agent-client relationship.
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