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Are you good at the first impression? Does your appearance convey confidence, warmth, and trustworthiness? Does the information you provide instill a sense of credibility, knowledge, and authority? Are you relatable, transparent, and empathetic?
How about online? Would a potential customer researching you online develop the same first impression that has made you successful at winning the first impression in person? It is an important question to answer because first impressions are increasingly being formed by your online persona and reputation. The information search has always been an early stage in the consumer decision-making process but now the education phase includes learning about you in addition to products and programs.
Fortunately, many of the same principles of a winning in-person first impression translate to your digital first impression as well. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Take Control (as much as you can)
There are countless potential sources of information about you but you need to be the most prolific. Here is a reality check: millennials, generation z, and most likely all the generations that follow are and will be more inclined to share, post, and comment with the whole world about their experiences and interactions with you. Now, let’s go with the understatement of the century: the nature of the mortgage business is that regardless of how great you are, every once in a while, you are going to be involved in a poor customer experience and will, most likely, be blamed for it whether it was your fault or not.
While how you respond to negative reviews and testimonials posted online is absolutely critical, it is just as important to ensure that there are dozens or hundreds of other pieces of information to drown out a negative piece here and there. Positive reviews would be nice, of course, but even informative blog posts and positive social media posts can counteract negative associations by reinforcing positive associations.
Do Not Forget the Visual
In person, your very first impression is typically visual. It is online as well. Before anyone reads a word on any page, they are going to take in the visuals. Your web presence should be distinctive and appealing, yet professional. Include photos and, when possible, videos on your social media pages, such as from your closings. Images can tell a story, about you and your business, that is often more powerful than any words you can put on the page.
Consistency of Message and Attitude
Always maintain a positive attitude in every blog and social media post. If you are having a bad day, do not air it online. While part of the job of your online image is to humanize you to your potential customers, they do not need to see the down side of your humanity. You want them to like you, to feel your energy and positivity, and to want you to bring your energy and positivity with you when you solve their problem.
Providing information, particularly answers to questions, without requiring them to contact adds value to their relationship with you before you even personally contribute to the relationship. It provides several other impressions as well: confidence, authority, credibility, and transparency; all very important factors in establishing the trust required to seal the deal. Your online impression can turn a cold agent referral to a semi-warm lead.
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