I was invited to join a friend this week as she looked at homes she and her husband were considering buying. It has been several years since I was a Realtor, so it had been some time since I had been out previewing homes on the market. We only looked at 2 homes that day and the thing that struck me the most was the difference in “curb appeal” between those 2 homes. Each home was a million dollar home … but only 1 of those homes looked like a million dollar home from the curb.
In my mind, there was no contest between the 2 houses. And the curb appeal was not limited to just the favored house… the neighborhood also had superior curb appeal as well. The homes were all kept in a highly maintained state and you could tell that in this neighborhood there was true pride in ownership.
That experience got me to thinking about personal curb appeal and group curb appeal.
When you attend a networking event, you are there to make connections that will be of mutual benefit down the road for both parties. You are out there teaching people about you, your business, and … well mostly you are selling yourself – first and foremost.
People make buying decisions long before they actually decide to buy. And, before you earn the right to sell someone your product of service you have to have shown that you are a person that they can get to know, learn to like, and eventually trust. You’ve heard it many many times and it is true… people buy from people they know, like, and trust.
You are your own brand. You know this. You are a walking, talking billboard for your business. And, you are very much like a house that is for sale. You need to pay attention to what your curb appeal is saying about you.
Some tips for improving your curb appeal at networking events.
- SMILE – A smile is the brightest gift that you can give to another person. It says that you are a friendly person. It makes people feel comfortable to be around you. It is like the sign by the door that says “welcome.”
- Dress appropriately for the occassion. Most networking events are business related – so dress appropriately. It is not appropriate to wear jeans or sweats to a professional or business networking event. Your curb appeal will stand out like a sore thumb if you ignore the dress code of the group that you are networking with. Your first impression will be that you are unprofessional and this is not what you want others to think of you. They will end up “driving by” and not wanting to “get inside” to see what you are all about.
- Attention to your attitude. An upbeat attitude will always improve how people “see” you. When you are networking you should always leave your troubles behind. You can waste time talking about the weather, the traffic, or your angst with the local sports team … all of these are in a negative vein and teach the other person that you focus on the aspects of life that can’t be changed. It is a much better use of time and space when you ask questions about the other person – like “what’s the best thing that happened in your business last week?” or “what new habit have you put in place recently to add to your business success?” When you show this kind of interest in other people and then truly listen to the answers, your curb appeal improves 1000%.
Just like a beautiful home in a well maintained neighborhood, you’ll want to make sure that you are networking with people who also maintain a higher standard for themselves and for their businesses. You are known by the company you keep. And in networking, where referrals are the ultimate goal, you want to be sure that the people you are networking with are willing and able at some point in time to engage with you in the knowing, liking, and trusting process. You want to be around high energy, professional people who have positive attitudes and who are willing to learn about others, share resources and ideas, and give support to each other when it is needed.
So be the best you can be, and network with those who are uplifting and encouraging in spirit.
You won’t be the house on the market that never gets any showings … you’ll find your curb appeal says “come on in and see what’s special” and you’ll have people eager to talk with you!