At a recent real estate club meeting we had a typical mix of regular members, both seasoned and novice investors, as well as a few newcomers. It is only natural that you size up these visitors almost instantly. We all know that first impressions are so important and if your initial reaction is negative it can be difficult to change that.
In a perfect world your opinion of someone would be based on how knowledgeable they are, their level of experience, and their reputation. While all of that factors in, it is generally appearance that makes the most immediate initial impact. If you insist you aren’t like that you may have a future as a politician. I started by mentioning the REI club meeting because of three first-time visitors that were a perfect example of what I’m talking about.
Exhibit number one was an individual in his late-twenties, dressed in a fancy suit, impeccably groomed, and wearing cologne. My initial impression was of someone who was adhering to the “fake it till you make it” philosophy. Watching others interact with him it seemed as if they were wary and wanted to know what he was selling or what his game was. As it turned out he was an insurance salesman who really was there to learn about real estate but his appearance gave people a different impression.
Another attendee was the exact opposite of Mr. Slick. He was poorly dressed, unkempt, and people generally avoided him. My assumption, and probably other’s as well, was that this was some wanna-be who thought he could get rich quick in real estate. As it turned out that was wrong. He was actually working for a company looking for investors. Perhaps he was peddling a great deal but I can’t imagine anyone gave him the time of day.
There was one man dressed in khakis and a nice shirt, nothing fancy. He seemed like an average guy and was soft-spoken, but seemed to exude an air of confidence. By the end of the night just about everyone had spoken to him. Turned out he was a very experienced investor and was looking to network with others like him. Without a doubt he made the most lasting impression on people. He wasn’t slick, didn’t wear a fancy suit, or boast about how successful he was.
What Impression Do You Give?
These were real examples and probably similar to what you find at almost any business networking meeting. Think about the impression you give. How would someone perceive you? We all know the proverb that you only get one chance to make a first impression. Will the people you are trying to attract see you in a favorable light? For the record – I’m meeting Mr. Average Joe for coffee next week.
First appearance deceives many. – Ovid
Photo Credit: Richard Warren