Never trust a real estate agent who puts their face on a bus bench

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When I started in the real estate business, I continued to do my best to look the part for each and every call.

I had what some may refer to as a “baby face” and I never exactly made up for it with size. I’m forced to resort to stature and attitude to capture attention and build trust. When that doesn’t work, I stand on a phone book.

When starting out, I looked especially young when compared to the average 57-year-old Realtor. In an industry where experience means everything, first impressions can be the difference between a $10,000 payday and paying bills with a credit card.

Let’s face it. People are judging machines wrapped in skin.

I rarely use my photo on sales collateral. I made the mistake early on of thinking I was handsome enough to put my photo on my business cards. Unless you’re selling your
beauty or body, your face on an ad hurts more than it helps.

Plus, kids love to draw moustaches on ads, and I look awful in a moustache.

Yet, in my industry putting faces on collateral is rampant. There are more bus benches with real estate people’s heads on them than any other business. In fact, I don’t think there is an industry that exists where people get paid as much as we do and all they really do is promote themselves: their head, their award status, their cool slogan, and how beautiful or sophisticated they appear.

Putting your picture on your bus bench, billboard or business card is a mistake. The problem with having your photo on anything is, as it’s your first impression, it will allow the prospect to make up an entire story about you without even meeting you. Right or wrong, they will do this. They are doing it right now. Embrace the reality; it’s not paranoia.

Unless you have a well-oiled and very expensive marketing firm that’s going to ensure your brand is well-represented and held in the utmost regard, your face will most likely disqualify you more than it qualifies you.

Glasses, a tie, bright lipstick, colourful clothes. All of it may help or hurt the first impression, but those things don’t represent 100% of who you are. Keep your face off of things to eliminate the opportunity for a customer to disqualify you as a competent service provider prior to meeting face to face.”

Once you’re face to face, if you’re good enough, you can overcome any superficial obstacles with your professional skills. Remember though, it could be the superficial objections you present that prevent you from getting the appointment in the first place.

Perception matters more than reality. I knew that back when I was a cute, scared, kid smiling and saying “please” and “thank you,” and I know now that optics and sales are massively correlated.

Let me repeat that, as I think it was one of the most important concepts I’ve discovered in my business.

Perception matters more than reality.

Want more? Order your copy of Hustle: A Guide to the Ethical Art of Selling & Survival.

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