8 Seconds – Written for Appfolio’s Property Manager E-Zine

Humans are judgmental.  Going beyond cultural lines, beyond family, beyond age, and beyond any other conceivable grouping, across the board, humans as a species are judgmental.  We learn tolerance at a young age, but tolerance isn’t the same thing as acceptance.  The most recent statistic I read on the subject said that when meeting a new person, you have 8 seconds to make a first impression that they will base the rest of their judgments on your character from. NX_RODEO_POSTER_bull_ridingfrontside2

8 Seconds.  That’s a very long time if you’re riding a bull.  Not so long if you’re meeting a prospective resident.

So what does your first impression look like?  Now, I’m not asking you what it looks like at optimal performance.  What I want to know is what does your 8 seconds look like on a bad day, when you’re stressed out about the budget, move outs, and your boss is crawling up your back?  Or how about on a day when the apathy for your current situation is overwhelming?

On top of only giving you 8 seconds to make an impression, the human psyche also requires almost 10 interactions of a vastly different nature to change someone’s initial opinion about you.  This means that even if the resident rents from you, they could be well in to the 3rd, 4th or 5th month of their lease before they decide that you are not, in fact, a jerk or lazy.  And that’s only if every interaction you’ve had up to that point is of a positive nature, otherwise, one bad interaction reinforces their initial opinion of you and you have to start over again from scratch.


 How to make a good impression  How to make a bad impression
 Stand to greet your potential new resident when they enter the office  Stay seated.  Also,  put your feet up on the table, because nothing screams service more than that.
 Have a clean, well groomed appearance  Roll out of bed 15 minutes before you have to be at work and don’t bother to get those little crusty things out of the corner of your eyes
 Shake their hand with a nice firm handshake while you SMILE  Give them a finger gun point and say “Yo!”
 Wear a Name tag and introduce yourself  Make them have to guess your name, Rumpelstiltskin style.  It’s an awesome game to get them engaged in the tour.
 Brush your teeth and make sure your breath stays clean during the day  Eat Philly Cheese steaks with garlic fries for lunch at your desk.  Don’t forget to offer your new potential resident a fry.  It’s only polite.