I once heard someone say,
“Saying ‘hello,’ has little to no return on investment. But long-term relationships do.”
I’m sure every one of you can attest to that truth. And with that, the adage, “You never have a second chance to make a first impression,” comes to mind. As overused as that phrase is, its truth has not lost one ounce of substance. So many in our industry forget the impact of a first impression. One of the definitions of the word impression is “to make a mark in or on the surface of something.” A first impression is exactly that! It makes an impression deep into the soil of a person’s soul. And placed within that impression is the seed of a potential relationship.
Never underestimate the power of the impression or the seed!
For the most part, seeds are tiny. And compared to what they produce, seeds may seem insignificant. Yet every seed contains potential within its DNA. Our English word, potential, comes from the Latin “potentia,” which means “power, might, or force.” Consequently, any first impression contains more power, might, and force than one can imagine. You never know who you have just met and where your impression and seed may lead.
Many agents believe that simply handing someone a business card is a good introduction, first impression, and seed planted. But not so! A recent report in CreditDonkey said 27 million business cards are printed daily. Just under 10 billion are published annually, and approximately 8 million will be tossed in the trash within a week of being handed out. That is 88% of all cards printed!
So why do people throw business cards away at such an overwhelming rate? The answer is they don’t need the service when they receive the card. The truth is that people live “in the moment.” You cannot force someone to hear something they are not ready to receive. Therefore the best action to be lived out in the moment is to plant the seed of an impactful first impression, keeping in mind that one new genuine relationship is worth far more than a shared business card. Seeds properly planted will germinate and, with appropriate care and cultivation, produce their anticipated harvest in due season.
Since first impressions and seeds are so important, we should consider two components that wonderfully serve as both. First and foremost, authenticity. Regarding relationship building, you can’t “fake it till you make it.” It might take a while, but people will usually see right through the “fake it.” And when they do, the time and energy invested have been wasted for both parties. Therefore checking your motive is vital. And to do so, ask yourself, “Will I be content with making a new friend and the mutual growth that results? Or will this effort only be worth it if it results in a closed transaction?” If all you are after is a closing, maybe your best strategy is to hand out as many business cards as possible because your Return On Investment (ROI) will be about 2% per 1000 cards strategically handed out. The ROI on random distribution is almost non-existent. But if you are willing to invest in relationships that result in mutual growth and friendship, the payout is exponential due to the potential that lies in the seed.
The second component is sensitivity. Character traits such as kindness, respect, and acceptance are irreplaceable and non-negotiable. Yet, I am often amazed at how unkind and disrespectful real estate professionals can be with colleagues, at social gatherings, professional mixers, in public settings, or even at family events. And let’s not even begin to talk about their social media presence. Real estate agents think that what they post or say online will not impact their circle of influence and relationships. Agents sometimes seem to redefine ROI to mean “return on idiocy.”
Authenticity and sensitivity – these two components have made unforgettable impressions and serve as incredible seeds! Their potential is immeasurable and long-term. And the best thing about them is that you can hand them out even when you are out of business cards.
Written by William “Billy” Nunez
Director of Culture, Fathom Realty
Florida State Broker