Perception Is Reality. How to Raise Your PQ (Perception Quotient) In 5 Easy Steps
As a Realtor, you see yourself as being sharp, educated, playing at the top of your game. You’re pretty sure your clients perceive you the same way. But do they, really? You may know real estate backwards and forwards. You probably put together awesome deals on a regular basis. But maybe some small things are holding you back. Things like the way you write and speak, for example.
How about a quick five-point checkup on your communication skills?
- Evaluate your messaging
- Know your audience
- Check your grammar
- Junk the jargon
- Reevaluate your messaging
1. Evaluate your messaging. Look back over the last week’s worth of emails, text messages, Facebook updates, tweets, and blog posts. Read them as though you were a client. What do you see? Are your messages well written? Are you cluttering them up with acronyms, abbreviations and purposely misspelled words? Electronic communication has made lazy writers of us all. But this trend does not add a thing to your professional image. Resolve that for the next week, you will use complete sentences, correct punctuation, and avoid acronyms and shortcut words. Which brings us to point #2,
2.Know your audience. Communicating with your kids, your spouse, or your close friends is an audience where you can take a few more liberties. But that stops when you enter the office door. Even if you feel you have a great personal relationship, even a friendship, with many of your clients, your written communications with them should be professional. This means using complete sentences, correct spelling and punctuation, even in a text message. There’s a big difference in tone between “Meet u in hr at propty,” and “Meet you in an hour at the property.”
Pay attention to age groups as well. If your client is a young married couple, they probably prefer text messaging over phone calls or emails. If they are empty-nesters or seniors, a phone call might be the way to go. And you can bet that many of them have no idea what “lol” means.
3. Check your grammar. My friend Steve is a part time Realtor but his night job is acting as security supervisor for a major gaming casino. He has to read (and unfortunately rewrite) all the incident reports submitted by his security staff. He showed me one report that was a full page long—all in one sentence! Very little punctuation and run-on sentence after run-on sentence. These people are supposed to be professionals. Some of them were even tested for writing skills before they were hired. But Steve is using his valuable supervisory time and skills to redo their work from start to finish.
Who’s checking your grammar? Do you know the difference between it’s and its? To and too? There and their? Do you know that an ‘s always signifies a possessive, never a plural? Little mistakes like these say one of two things: either I know better and I’m too rushed to care, or I don’t know better and therefore I’m not a true professional.
4. Junk the jargon. There are so many pop culture words and phrases that find their way into our daily speech that we’re probably not even aware of them ourselves. How long has it been since you heard “Whatever,” or “My bad,” or “It is what it is.” The first time you hear one of these expressions, you probably think, “That’s cool.” But after 100 or 1,000 times, these expressions simply say, “I’m too lazy to have an original thought, so I’m just going to say whatever pops into my head, which is probably something my teenage daughter brought home from school.”
5. Reevaluate your messaging. So for one week you’ve been monitoring yourself. There are many ways of doing this. You can use your original evaluation to make a list of the 10 most common errors you’re making. Put them in writing and look at them several times a day so they will stay top of mind in all your written and spoken communication.
Or you can make a game of it with a few of your colleagues. Share your most common faux pas and give yourselves permission to call the others on it when you see or hear them stumble. Put a quarter or a dollar in the kitty for a week and use the money to treat yourselves to a pizza or a box of pastries on Friday.
Whatever it costs, it will be worth it when you realize that your clients’ perception of you as a professional has probably risen at least 100% in just a week. Small price to pay for a big jump in credibility.