My friend Jennifer is moving her home from one state to another in the next several weeks. She visualized her way to the quick sale of her current house and now she and her husband need to find a new house right away. Since she doesn’t know any real estate agents in her new area, and she’s belonged to a BNI (Business Network International) chapter in her current town, she figured she’d start out asking for referrals from the regional BNI leader there. Her contact was reluctant to recommend anyone in particular, for fear of playing favorites. Okay, but if you had to choose one over another, which one would that be, she pushed.
Finally the person gave her an answer. Like most of you reading this article, Jen then Googled the person to find out more about him. Nothing came up. In fact, none of the local BNI Realtors had an online presence. Okay, wait, some did have something, but then the links to their sites weren’t good or the information on their sites hadn’t been updated in years. Seriously, she told me one woman’s last blog post was in 2007.
With an impending trip to the new state coming up next weekend, she was under pressure to find someone who could show her houses in the town she wants to live in – someone great, a real expert, because when you’re making such a huge, life altering decision, who’s okay with just mediocre representation?!
She started Googling for general information about Realtors in the town she was targeting. One woman kept coming up. This person had a great website, lots of testimonials from different people, a professionally done head shot, and up-to-date information and resources. Jennifer found this woman mentioned favorably in several places. Plus, she has lived in this same town for years, she has kids around the same ages as Jen’s, and clearly she knows how to present herself as an authority in her area and industry.
They’ve spoken, set up their search schedule and the woman’s follow through has been impressively consistent with the expectations she set in her online presence. Here’s to the intention that Jen finds the perfect house for her family.
What’s the lesson for you in regards to generating new business and building strong relationships with clients? If you want customers who take you seriously, who are willing to pay you what you’re worth and work with you the way you like, you absolutely must present a professional image everywhere you go! From the design of your website (and yes, in this day and age, you must have one!) to the pictures you post there and in your professional materials, to your business cards, to your blog, to your social media presence, to what you look like and how you act at networking events and in public. Whether you think it’s fair or not, potential clients are watching and judging your professionalism and competency.
Make no mistake though, professional does not mean boring or plain. Somewhere long ago, in a far away place, a rumor started that in order to present as a professional, you must wear dark formal dress and scrub all distinguishing characteristics from your business world.
Not true! There is plenty of room for your personality and it’s actually imperative you add that component so you really connect with your market. People want to know they are dealing with another person, making a human connection. Somewhere in the information Jennifer saw about this real estate woman was something about her family and because she and Jen have kids around the same ages, Jen realized a common connection. On top of the professionalism, this commonality helps build trust.
And it’s okay if who you are doesn’t resonate with everyone. You’re not looking to serve everyone; you’re looking to connect and build relationships with only the right people for you.