Research shows that people can form a “first impression” of you within a few seconds of meeting you. And they can make accurate snap-judgments within milliseconds.
That said, you have the duration of your first exchange to impact someone’s initial view of you.
First impressions are important. If you make a bad one, it can be difficult to overcome. But if you make a great one, you can really give yourself an edge – and even earn some leeway to mess up or make some small social mistakes.
First impressions are definitely relevant when it comes to sales.
If a prospect starts with their guard up, you might never break it down. On the flip side, if you quickly establish yourself as likable and trustable, a big part of the battle has been won.
So what exactly goes into making a great first impression?
Let’s break it down…
Everyone looks different. And certainly there are elements of appearance that you can’t change. But some you can.
Pay attention to the clothes you wear, how they fit, and what that says about you. Appropriate attire varies depending on what you do… just make sure you fit into that “appropriate” category.
Grooming is another thing to be cognizant about. If you come across as unkempt, or worse, unclean, it’s a definite blow to the impression you’ll make.
For those who make their first impression over the phone, you get a pass on this one.
The expression on your face goes a long way.
So wear a smile. Have bright eyes.
It’s one of the first things someone will notice, and there are few ways to make a better first impression.
Think about smiling when you’re on the phone as well. People can hear it in your voice.
Your body language can have an even bigger effect than the actual words you say. Good posture, strong handshake, eye contact, and relaxed stance are all good examples of positive body language.
Body language is critical when it comes to your portrayal of confidence (or lack thereof). Avoid fidgeting and darting your head around – be calm and slow with your movements.
Stop us if you’ve heard this advice before: “Get people talking about themselves.”
The truth is, that’s only half right.
Good, probing questions are important – but not if you rattle off question after question without any of your own input. You’ll start to get the sense that the other person wants to talk less and less.
The missing “piece” is that you need to listen AND relate to their answers. In other words, use their answer as a way to reveal something about yourself – perhaps something that is important to you.
That’s how you connect with people.
It’s also vital to come off as genuine, not forced. So be yourself. Don’t try too hard.
When you can consistently make great first impressions, you’ll find it much easier to connect with people and also to improve in sales.
What did we miss? What do you do to make sure you make a great first impression?