Shoppers Client Login

Sell Them The First Thing They See (In 20 seconds or less!)

Written by Nancy Luttrell


(In 20 seconds or less!)


When customers walk into your office, they are shopping for more than just a new home; they are shopping for the right sales professional to guide them through the process of finding and purchasing or building their new home.

What does this mean to you?  It means . . .

You are the first person they see and you have only 20 seconds to sell yourself!

What characteristics do customers look for in a sales professional?

  • Likability – If customers don’t like you, they won’t buy from you.
  • Are you genuine? – Customers need to know you care; that you understand their emotions.
  • Are you perceptive? – Do you pick up on their social cues (how they are interacting with you, how they feel, etc.) and are you making the necessary adjustments to ensure a positive connection is achieved?
  • Are you a good listener?
  • Are you a confident person?

The bottom line is this, no matter how great your presentation or the strength of your close, if you don’t sell the customer on yourself, you won’t sell them anything at all.

The thing about first impressions

In recent months I have watched three video mystery shops in which shoppers entered deserted sales offices and waited from six to 20 minutes before being greeted by sales representatives.  The sales reps involved in two of those video shops offered minimal apologies and showed little interest in the customer, the product, or the sale.

What I found most interesting, though, was how predictable the performance of these sales reps was.  One needed a haircut and a slightly larger pair of slacks; the other was dressed neatly but his non-verbal communication (posture, lack of eye contact, facial expressions) screamed, “I would rather be anywhere else but here!”

First impressions like these do not end with a signed contract!

Before you even begin to sell a home you must first sell yourself to the customer, and I must stress the fact that you have very little time to close that sale!

Researchers from NYU found that we make eleven major decisions about one another in the first seven seconds of meeting.

Psychology Today says we process small clues, everything from tone of voice to posture, and in a snap we form a larger picture in our minds.

It seems unfair that we judge one another in such a short period of time and with so little information on which to base our judgments but, it is what it is.  We are human and our brains have been wired this way since prehistoric times when survival necessitated the ability to almost instantly evaluate and react to an unfamiliar person or situation.  And to add insult to injury, we are very unforgiving.  Once our minds are made up it is very hard to change them.

Starting tomorrow, strive to portray physical confidence, to treat every customer as if he or she is the most important person in the world, to smile at everyone you see, and to do more listening than talking.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results!

Be Your Most Impressive Every Day

You are in and out of your office showing new homes, walking home sites, and touring communities all day so it is important to check your appearance often.  Between customers (and especially after lunch or a snack) check your clothes for lint, your teeth for spinach, and make sure your hair isn’t standing on end.

Begin with a handshake

When you walk into a room always offer a firm handshake. This gives you a feeling of self-assurance and indicates to others that you are confident.  I recommend a strong grip (but not a knuckle-breaker) and deliberate pumps up and down (while making eye contact of course).  A limp handshake will make you seem disinterested.

Eye contact

Making eye contact presents an air of confidence in yourself and what you are communicating.  People who are listening to what you are saying will take you more seriously, and will trust that what you say as important.  If you break eye contact or focus on anything other than the person you are speaking to, you may appear to be incredibly distracted, incredibly bored or incredibly weak.

Introduce yourself and ask for their names

Always introduce yourself by saying your first and last name; then ask for the customer’s name.  I recommend repeating the person’s name to help you remember it.  (Example:  “It’s so nice to meet you, Mary.”)  Using the customer’s name shows you are focused on them, so use names several times throughout your presentation but be careful not to over-do it.  Repeating names too frequently will seem insincere and odd.


A smile indicates you are a happy, caring person.  When you shake hands, look directly into the person’s eyes and smile broadly.  Wait for your smile to be returned; then hold your smile for a second or two longer than they do.

A smile is a gift that benefits the giver and the receiver.  Give often!

Dress to Impress

Always dress your best.  This doesn’t mean you must wear designer clothing; only that you take pride in how you look.   It’s the outside of the package that attracts people to you.

Build Rapport

Rapport is the ability to form a strong bond with another person; to make him feel that you understand him.

When meeting someone for the first time, look for shared interests by asking open-ended questions.  You might discover you support the same football team, favor the same jewelry designer, enjoy fishing, or that you are both raising teenagers.

Any common ground can create instant rapport!

Be a good listener

I once watched a mystery shop that featured a female sales representative who literally did not stop talking from beginning to end!  Being female myself, I’m no slouch in the gab department but even my BFF can’t break this woman’s record for most words spoken before coming up for air!  I counted 32 words spoken by the Shopper in the entire 67-minute video clip.  True story!

Being an attentive listener is more important than any words that can come out of your own mouth.  You must show a sincere interest in what is being said, ask good questions, confirm that questions and concerns have been addressed satisfactorily, and avoid interrupting.

Body language tips

Walk with a spring in your step!  Customers will view you as important and energetic.

Sit up straight!  This tells your customer you are giving them your full attention.

Every day, your image sends a message to the people you meet.  The wrong message can cost you dearly, both personally and professionally.  The right message can carry you to the top in every aspect of your life!

Now, get out there and sell those customers the first thing they see!

The clock starts . . . NOW!


Until next time!