Recently I attended the Home Show in Seattle and was quite surprised by what I found. Initially I went to the Home Show to check out all the latest and greatest products and companies in the home products industry.
But what I actually encountered was very disappointing. Gone were the days of the smiling salesperson asking if I wanted more information. Instead I found myself growing increasingly uncomfortable as I passed booth after booth of salespeople not greeting the public because they were too busy on their phones: talking, texting, emailing, and yes, even playing games.
I was expecting eye contact, a warm smile, and welcoming personal engagement. Instead I found myself feeling awkward and not willing to enter the booths, let alone talk to the salespeople, for fear of interrupting them – not a good feeling for a potential client or customer to have.
When I met back up with my husband after 45 minutes (we had gone our separate ways upon entering – he made a beeline for the tools and garage organization systems), the first thing he mentioned was how disappointed he was with all the unapproachable sales people on their phones. And this coming from my husband who engages easily with anyone he meets!
Now was every salesperson doing this? Of course not. But it says a lot that we drove two hours to get to the show, spent money for parking and admission, and left after only 45 minutes without spending a dime – and set a new record for me!
I walked away disappointed. Here is the housing industry, already in need of a shot in the arm, and yet many of the front people were not present, and those who were present were not sending any signals that they were open for business.
So what does this have to do with real estate? Why should you care that I didn’t buy new CFL bulbs or a self-watering begonia?
As real estate agents, we are salespeople first in a business that relies on connecting with people, whether that be with the public or even other agents.
Think about open houses. You need to be very aware of what you are doing while you are serving the public. Too much time spent talking on your phone or computer, texting, emailing, or even playing games, or watching videos is simply not professional because you cannot tune in to what is going on around you. You must be present and in the moment for all potential clients who walk through the door. Time spent looking at your computer screen or your smartphone indicates to the potential client that you have more pressing matters and are not open for new business.
But this is not just limited to open houses. For example, I have seen agents who are attending networking luncheons or group meetings that spend most of their time on their phones or surfing the web. If you taking the time to attend a networking group, getting into the discussion and making connections is a much better use of your time than trying to get work done on a very small screen.
Even in your sales meetings, remember if you are constantly engaging with the phone, this closes you off to discussions with other real estate agents. Engaging with your peers is important, as you never know when you might be referred by one of them!
Agents, I know we are busy, are juggling a lot, and our phones have so many wonderful applications and programs to help us get work done on the go. But remember, the more tuned in you are to that little device the less you are tuned in to those around you – and you might just miss the opportunity that’s right in front of you. So, put down the phone and engage!