I recently re-read an ActiveRain post I wrote in 2015 where I listed 20 things I learned tending bar. In reflection, the list still rings true to me, but I wish I had taken the time to expand on each of the 20 lessons a bit more. I also realized that these lessons were accumulated through many service jobs I've taken on, including as a waitress at a New Jersey Diner (Golden Coach), at a New Jersey bagel shop (Bagel Town) and at an restaurant/ice cream shop in DC (Swensen's). Sadly, all three of these businesses are no longer around, but the lessons I took from them live on in me and I've passed them to my daughters.
So today's post focuses on the first of twenty lessons.
Lesson 1: Greet Everyone with a smile
When I was a Girl Scout Cookie Mom, and we set up a booth outside the local grocery store, I had to teach very little girls how to sell cookies. The very first thing I taught them was to smile when they saw a potential customer coming.
Service jobs, like bartending, waitressing, and real estate require you to built rapport rather quickly. Greeting them with a smile is a great way to make a good first impression. A smile is contagious and smiling puts you in a better mood so when they see you and smile back, it makes them feel better.
As a bartender or waitress greeting a customer for the first time, you have the ability to read their body language and they can read yours. However, in real estate our first encounter is not always in person. We often meet people on the phone or through email or text. So, how can you greet them with a smile?
Smile even if they don't see you
After college I worked as a marketing and communications assistant for a non-profit in Washington DC. After we released a press release it was my job to call our database of reporters to see if they had any questions and were planning to cover our news. My boss would allow me to stay home to make the calls on two conditions. 1) I had to wear a suit and sit upright at my desk, and 2) I had to face a mirror and smile while making the calls.
She was convinced that a smiling voice was better on the phone and wearing a suit and sitting upright kept one on track and professional.
Go ahead, I know you want to...
Try it. slouch down or recline on the couch and say something and then sit up straight and smile and say the same thing again. Notice the difference? Sitting upright and smiling makes a huge difference.
They know if you are smiling
Even when they can't see your smile they will know if you are smiling. Think back to the pandemic when everyone was masking. You could look at their eyes and see that they were smiling.
You don't get a second chance
Have you ever met someone while they were preoccupied with something else and it seems impossible to maintain their attention? They apologize and try to move on, but you don't feel like they are focused on you.
Greeting someone with a smile let's them feel that your attention in on them and that you are happy to meet them.
You really only get one chance to make a first impression.