In real estate, you could be one relationship away from moving your business to the next level. Here’s how to have those first conversations, transform them into meaningful connections and build relationships.

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The ability to connect with someone quickly provides the opportunity to broaden your reach. Building rapport with new leads or acquaintances is crucial to taking your business to the next level.

Having trouble kicking off conversations and establishing relationships? There is a process to connection, and with a few simple steps, you can develop a magnetic personality that draws people to you.

You truly do only get one chance to make a first impression, and the following tips will give you the ability to connect quickly and build meaningful rapport with your ideal clients.

1. Smile

Have you ever noticed how much more enjoyable it is to be around someone who’s constantly smiling? It turns out the act of smiling actually throws a feel-good party in your brain.

According to Psychology Today, the act of smiling triggers neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness. When you smile, your brain releases dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. These feel-good neurotransmitters relax your body, and act as a natural pain reliever and as an organic mood-lifter.

The act of smiling is contagious. Also, according to Psychology Today, the act of mimicking someone’s smile is an unconscious, automatic response. So, when you smile at someone, their automated response is to smile back, which leads to their brain dumping feel-good chemicals. Lead with a smile, and the opportunity to connect will rise dramatically.

2. Make direct eye contact

As they say, our eyes are the window to our soul. Growing up, I always heard the warning to never trust someone who won’t look you in the eye. Making direct eye contact shows people you are fully engaged and interested in them.

Have you ever been talking with someone who is glancing over your shoulder, distracted by something or looking to see who else might be walking in the room? Or maybe they are looking down at their phone or watch?

Well, a lack of eye contact gives the impression that the person you are speaking to isn’t important to you — and that’s a very difficult impression to overcome.

Stay completely focused on the people you meet and the words they are saying. Make direct eye contact with a smile on your face. The physical act of looking them in the eye lets them know they are important to you and opens the door to a meaningful connection.

3. Ask a question

Asking people questions about themselves shows them you’re interested in getting to know them better. Having a few go-to questions when you first meet people is always a wise thing to do. A few I always ask are:

  • Where are you originally from?
  • Where did you go to school?
  • What do you do for a living?

These are questions that generally bring back fond memories or are a subject most people enjoy talking about.

Another great question for a married couple is:

  • How did the two of you meet?

No matter what mood the couple is in, the question of how they met will most likely bring a smile to their faces.

4. Mirror their physical behaviors

Have you ever noticed couples who are fully engaged in a deep conversation? They both lean in at the same time. They both might have their hands folded in front of them or their legs crossed. They seem to speak to each other at the same pace and even nod together, agreeing with one another.

This is the phenomenon known as mirroring, and it happens subconsciously when we are in complete rapport and agreement with the person we are speaking with.

Mirroring can also be achieved by consciously matching someone’s behaviors, whether it’s their voice, body language, body movements or posture. Replicating someone’s behavior connects them to you subconsciously.

The psychology behind mirroring is that we feel most comfortable around people who are like us. The more people feel you are like them, the more trust they have in you on a subconscious level.

The next time you meet someone for the first time, mirror their behaviors, and see how quickly you build rapport. After consciously doing this for a while, I now find myself doing it unconsciously. As I study top producers, many of them build connections with people, quickly utilizing mirroring, whether they realize it or not.

5. Give them a compliment

The quickest way to endear yourself to someone else is to give them a compliment. Complimenting someone shows that you are taking interest in them by noticing something that you admire about them or something they’ve done.

What’s more, complimenting people brings positivity into the conversation and dramatically increases their desire to connect with you. If I am previewing a potential listing, I always try to find something about the house to compliment. Something like:

  • “You all did an amazing job remodeling your kitchen.”
  • “I love the way you have your back porch set up.”
  • “Your furnishings make this house feel like a home.”

Our ability to find ways to compliment people leads to more opportunities to grow relationships.

6. Follow up after initial meeting

We’ve all had those initial encounters with people who we really hit it off with but never see again. These are some of our greatest missed opportunities. The most critical part of connecting with others is following up on the initial conversation and nurturing that relationship.

Very few people will meet you for the first time and decide to do business with you on the spot. Rarely will someone send you a referral after your initial meeting. Trust and relationships take time.

After your first meeting, follow up with a text saying it was great meeting them. Connect with them on social media. Find an article or video online about something you discussed when you met, and send it to them. Set a to-do in your calendar to reach back out to them in a few weeks.

If you want to get beyond a surface acquaintance, follow-up will play a big role in building meaningful relationships that last.

The bottom line is that you have what people need. They want to connect with you. The next level in your business could be just one relationship away. So take action now, and start building more and deeper relationships.

Jimmy Burgess is the Chief Growth Officer for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida. Connect with him on Facebook or Instagram.

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