On today’s show we are talking about the top three mistakes that I see people make in an initial meeting when they are meeting with a potential business prospect.

  1. Confusing introduction

It’s a bit of a cliche, but you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. That has to do with the way you look, the energy level you bring to the interaction, and the way you introduce yourself.

Some people who are real estate investors also have other things going on in their lives. If you are here to talk real estate, then talk about real estate. Don’t lead with the fact that you sell life insurance. People have a tendency to put you in a box. Understand that this process is at play.

They will make a decision in the first few minutes. They will either want to get to know you better, or they will be wondering how long before they can politely talk to someone else.

You don’t want to lie or mislead. If you are a doctor, then start with the fact that you invest in real estate. You can then casually mention that you also see patients in the afternoons.

If you are are socially insecure, then this is something to work on. Becoming confident in social situations can be an acquired skill, developed with training and mastered with practice. 

If you confuse the other party, the chances of them doing business with you drop dramatically. A confused mind doesn’t buy.

2) Talking too much

If you spend more than 30% of the time talking, you are probably talking too much. If you are answering a question, offer an answer that is a conversation starter. Let’s say that you are tempted to talk about one of your projects. You might be building a small group of houses. Rather than talking just about the houses you are building, you can frame your answer in a context. That leaves an opening to talk further about the building project, or the context. So you might say something like, We’ve observed the huge reduction in inventory for sale, combined with the fall in affordability for single family homes. So we made the decision to reduce the size of the homes to reduce material cost, at the same time that prices are rising. That means that we have the potential to increase the profit margin, but more importantly reduce the risk to the downside if market conditions change quickly in the next 12 months as they always could.

So then the other side would almost be compelled to ask where you made decisions to reduce cost. Maybe they take the conversation in the direction of the economy. Maybe they talk about decisions they have made in response to the current market conditions. You have the possibility of establishing a real connection with the person you just met. But if you just talk about yourself, they will lose interest quickly. If you launch into a speech about how you designed the homes, you will probably lose their interest very quickly.

There is a natural cadence to conversation that is a little like a game of tennis. You want to pass the ball back and forth over the net and keep the rally going. If you run off with the ball and keep it on your side of the net, then it ceases to be a rally. It ceases to be a conversation. Some people talk too much when they get nervous. It’s time to truly listen. 

3) Don’t ask questions

If you are not being curious, how can you possibly have a chance to demonstrate that you are interested in the other party. But most important, you don’t get to dig down a few layers and develop a relationship. There is an art to asking questions. Some people ask questions in the way a prosecutor would cross examine a witness. You may know people who do that. We are not talking about that kind of questioning. We’re talking about establishing rapport. Finding out what you have in common, what you can both relate to. Questions that are too specific can sound like an inquisition too early in a relationship.