As a real estate professional, you’ve probably heard one person or another talk about “dressing for success” while they show you their new watch or tailored suit. This expression is used broadly in a lot of different ways, but in the world of real estate it actually holds a lot more meaning than you might imagine.
A crucial aspect of working as a realtor is image. How your clients perceive you can make all the difference between a successful sale and a deal falling through. While your confidence, the eloquence with which you speak and your social skills all play an important part in creating the winning formula for success, the importance of your appearance cannot be overstated.
If you want to truly realize your full potential as a real estate agent, you’re going to need to do your best to look the part. This means tailoring every aspect of your appearance down to a T, creating a clean, capable and commanding presence that speaks volumes before you’ve uttered so much as a single word.
Picture this: you’re a young man or woman who has recently graduated from college. You’ve secured a high-paying job, and for the first time in your life you’ve got an ample supply of disposable income entering your bank account every month. With your pockets full, you start searching for an investment.
As many of the more financially savvy millennials do, you come to the conclusion that a home is a good place to start. You scour the market, do your research, and finally take the time to find a real estate agent. With a clear picture of what you want emblazoned in your mind’s eye, you set out on the search for the right person to help you find your dream home.
After a period spent talking to various different real estate professionals, you’ve narrowed it down to just two candidates. The first is an amicable middle aged man with years of experience and a pleasant demeanor. The second is an ambitious young woman with only a few years of professional experience.
While the logical choice seems clear, we’ve omitted one crucial detail: the more experienced realtor doesn’t put a great deal of effort into his appearance. His hair is unruly, his clothes wrinkled and his posture slouched and ungainly. His less experienced counterpart, on the other hand, is formidably professional in bearing and attire, inspiring confidence in those around her without saying a word. Now: which would you choose?
The logical choice in the aforementioned scenario seems clear to those in the know. The more experienced realtor will likely do a better job of finding the home that’s best for you, and they’ll probably do it at less overall cost to you. He knows property law inside and out, and he likely has all the tools to make the sale go smoothly.
To your average client, however, this doesn’t command as much respect as you might think. For someone with no knowledge of the finer points of buying and selling real estate, image and confidence are the key traits sought out by clients, whether they realize it or not. If your appearance is professional and inspires confidence, clients will choose you. If it isn’t, they’re likely to pass up on you for a more dapper competitor.
This isn’t to say that you should forgo all your professional duties to spend time at your tailors, of course. Honing your skills as a real estate professional will undoubtedly pay off in the long term, and you’ll need to stay sharp to maintain your edge. So how can you improve your appearance without sacrificing your professional goals and pursuits? Here are some ideas that have worked well for other real estate professionals!
Let’s start with the most obvious way to improve your look: clothing. This is perhaps the most important aspect of your professional image, and arguably does more than anything else to determine whether or not you come off as capable and put-together. So how can you easily and inexpensively revamp your wardrobe?
One way to do this is by getting a tailored suit or two. If you can afford one from a decent fashion house or tailor, go for that. If not, a more inexpensive suit can still be altered to fit you better and compliment your figure much the same as more expensive outfits do. As long as it looks and feels good on you, it doesn’t necessarily have to be costly.
If you’re looking for a cheaper way to instantly improve your fit, start having your clothes cleaned and pressed regularly. This will remove wrinkles and signs of use, while reducing the amount of time you spend sorting laundry and painstakingly pressing your garments. With your newfound free time, you can study up on the latest trends in the real estate world!
We all know that one rookie real estate agency who’s gotten just a tiny bit carried away with expensive accessories. Every pay cycle sees them spend an absurd amount of money on accessories, buying watches, rings, expensive cars and whatever other gaudy bauble or trinket they can get their hands on.
To cut a long story short, don’t be that person. Accessories are fine, but you should always keep in mind their practical function (if they have one) and whether or not they serve to elevate your look as a whole. If the entire purpose of something is simply to showcase how wealthy you are, chances are it’s not going to improve your chances of making a sale.
When tastefully selected, however, accessories actually can do a lot to improve your image. A sensible watch, a ring or two, some sunglasses and a flagship smartphone can all serve to leave the impression that you’re successful, but also responsible and self-aware. Just don’t overdo it!
At one point or another, you’ve probably heard someone say “actions speak louder than words”. In real estate, this applies to body language too! Everything you do while on the job tells your clients about you, from the way you move your hands to how you hold your head. If you want to project confidence and capability, the first step is learning to let your body do the talking!
One great way to instantly improve your body confidence is by improving your posture. In a job like this, it’s easy to forget the importance of sitting up straight while you file paperwork and work on marketing, so it’s not at all uncommon for realtors to have bad posture. If you struggle with this too, try getting a new office chair and doing posture exercises while at your desk. Always remember to keep your back straight, head held high and chin up.
There are a wide variety of other things you can improve too when it comes to body language. Always do your best to keep a smile on your face, whether it’s genuine or not, and don’t forget to gesture with confidence when the context allows for it. A firm handshake is invaluable as well; it conveys resolution and decisiveness.
Image is about more than the way you look when seen in person; it’s also about how you look on your marketing materials! If you want people to perceive you as the competent, sophisticated real estate professional that you are, you’re going to make sure that the first impression you provide them on your marketing is up to snuff.
The best place to start is with some new photographs for business cards, websites and social media. These are the bread and butter of real estate marketing strategies, so making sure all available photos of you look professional is very important. Schedule a photoshoot with a skilled photographer and make sure you look your best!
Of course, your image is also affected by how good your marketing materials are. The quality of your website, business cards and signs also affect your reputation and standing in the real estate world, so it’s worth paying a decent graphic designer and web developer to make sure everything looks as good as it can.
To sum things up, we’ll say this: looks aren’t everything, but we’ll be damned if they don’t make a big difference! If you want your clients and colleagues alike to be wowed by your presence, you’ve got to make an effort to look and act your best at all times. With these handy tips we’ve provided, you should have any trouble doing that!