Make a Great First Impression and Build Lasting Rapport


Residents don’t lease apartments; they discover solutions. Represent yourself and your community as the right solution from the start.

The Science Behind First Impressions

Our brains take a huge number of verbal and non-verbal cues when we interact with someone and this process begins as soon as we meet someone new. In fact, a person can even look at photos and have the same effect. Research says that that first impression happens in a fraction of a second. If you want a solid number, it is actually .01 of a second. Furthermore, first impressions are nearly impossible to reverse after they are set.

Dress the Part

Two attributes people tend to draw conclusions about very quickly are attractiveness and whether or not a person seems trustworthy. You can convey attractiveness by being well groomed and well dressed. Do not be afraid to get your clothes tailored to fit properly and make sure your outfit is clean and pressed. The way you dress and style your hair matters.

Your Hand Shake and Tone of Voice

The firmness of your hand shake and an even tone of voice both play a huge role in making a great first impression. Your handshake should not feel limp or weak as this may make others feel you are not comfortable in what you are presenting. Your tone of voice should be warm, yet professional and confident.


Smiling shows you possess a positive mindset and it helps to put everyone in a good mood. It also works to convey a friendly atmosphere.

Discover the Problem

Most people do not enjoy moving to a new home or location, rather they are usually moving for a real reason. Start by asking them why they are moving so you can provide a solution tailored to their specific needs.

Be Aware of Body Language

How are they holding their arms? How are you holding your arms? Are they looking at their phone often or are they leaning forward, seeming interested? You can use these queues to help you gauge if what you are doing is working or if you need to adjust your approach.

Ways to Build Trust

  • Let them speak first and be sure to ask open ended questions to keep the conversation going.
  • Project empathy by being warm and demonstrating that you understand where they are coming from, why they are moving, and what their needs are.
  • Gather Information. Make mental or physical notes so you can remember what they actually need and want in a new home.
  • Don’t pitch immediately. You can lose their trust if you appear to only be after the sale.

If you are trusting and if you project trust, people will be more likely to trust you.

The Power of Memories

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so be sure to make it count in your favor. Also, your first impression of a person may be different than their first impression of you. Remember, first impressions do not only apply to your own first meetings with prospects; each interaction with staff in multiple departments also includes a first impression, as well as how residents interact with your community amenities.

Most people will not remember the details of an experience, but they will remember whether the memory was a positive or negative one.

Final Tips

Emotions play a huge role in how someone remembers your community, so make sure the experience is filled with positive emotions.

In addition, be sure to manage expectations. If you say you are going to send an email, make sure to send it to the prospect on time. If you follow up later than expected, the prospect may not have the same feelings or excitement about the apartment complex as they did while the experience was still fresh in their mind.

Expectations can range, depending on the individual, so you must keep in mind what works for each prospect.

Remember, first impressions are formed in one tenth of a second and do not change much after the fact. Make sure you are making the most of that opportunity!

Presented by:

Misty Sanford, Founder
North of Creative