Can you close a sale in just seven seconds?
You can do it even faster if you make a great first impression. Seven
seconds is the average length of time you have to make a first impression.
If your first impression is not good you won' t get another chance with
that potential client. But if you make a great first impression you can
bet that the client is more likely to take you and your company seriously.
Whether your initial meeting
is face-to-face, over the phone or via the Internet, you do not have time
to waste. It pays for you to understand how people make their first
judgment and what you can do to be in control of the results.
1. LEARN WHAT PEOPLE USE TO
FORM THEIR FIRST OPINION.
When you meet someone
face-to-face, 93% of how you are judged is based on non-verbal data - your
appearance and your body language. Only 7% is influenced by the words that
you speak. Whoever said that you can't judge a book by its cover failed to
note that people do. When your initial encounter is over the phone, 70% of
how you are perceived is based on your tone of voice and 30% on your
words. Clearly, it's not what you say - it's the way that you say it.
2. CHOOSE YOUR FIRST TWELVE
Although research shows that
your words make up a mere 7% of what people think of you in a one-on-one
encounter, don't leave them to chance. Express some form of thank you when
you meet the client. Perhaps, it is "Thank you for taking your time
to see me today" or "Thank you for joining me for lunch."
Clients appreciate you when you appreciate them.
3. USE THE OTHER PERSON'S NAME
There is no sweeter sound than
that of our own name. When you use the client's name in conversation
within your first twelve words and the first seven seconds, you are
sending a message that you value that person and are focused on him.
Nothing gets other people's attention as effectively as calling them by
4. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR HAIR.
Your clients will. In fact,
they will notice your hair and face first. Putting off that much-needed
haircut or color job may cost you the deal. Very few people want to do
business with someone who is unkempt or whose hairstyle does not look
professional. Don't let a bad hair day cost you the connection.
5. KEEP YOUR SHOES IN MINT
People will look from your
face to your feet. If your shoes aren't well maintained, the client will
question whether you pay attention to other details. Shoes should be
polished as well as appropriate for the business environment. They may be
the last thing you put on before you walk out the door, but they are often
the first thing your client notices.
6. WALK FAST.
Studies show that people who
walk 10-20% faster than others are viewed as important and energetic -
just the kind of person your clients want to do business with. Pick up the
pace and walk with purpose if you want to impress. You never know who may
7. FINE TUNE YOUR HANDSHAKE.
The first move you make when
meeting your prospective client is to put out your hand. There isn't a
businessperson anywhere who can't tell you that the good business
handshake should be a firm one. Yet time and again people offer a limp
hand to the client. You'll be assured of giving an impressive grip and
getting off to a good start if you position your hand to make complete
contact with the other person's hand. Once you've connected, close your
thumb over the back of the other person's hand and give a slight squeeze.
You'll have the beginning of a good business relationship.
8. MAKE INTRODUCTIONS WITH
It does matter whose name you
say first and what words you use when making introductions in business.
Because business etiquette is based on rank and hierarchy, you want to
honor the senior or highest ranking person by saying his name first. When
the client is present, he is always the most important person. Say the
client's name first and introduce other people to the client. The correct
words to use are "I'd like to introduce..." or "I'd like to
introduce to you..." followed by the name of the other person.
9. NEVER LEAVE THE OFFICE
WITHOUT YOUR BUSINESS CARDS.
Your business cards and how
you handle them contribute to your total image. Have a good supply of them
with you at all times since you never know when and where you will
encounter a potential client. How unimpressive is it to ask for a person's
card and have them say, " Oh, I'm sorry. I think I just gave my last
one away." You get the feeling that this person has already met
everyone he wants to know. Keep your cards in a card case or holder where
they are protected from wear and tear. That way you will be able to find
them without a lot of fumbling around, and they will always be in pristine
10. MATCH YOUR BODY LANGUAGE
TO YOUR VERBAL MESSAGE.
A smile or pleasant expression
tells your clients that you are glad to be with them. Eye contact says you
are paying attention and are interested in what is being said. Leaning in
toward the client makes you appear engaged and involved in the
conversation. Use as many signals as you can to look interested and
In the business environment,
you plan your every move with potential clients. You arrange for the
appointment, you prepare for the meeting, you rehearse for the
presentation, but in spite of your best efforts, potential clients pop up
in the most unexpected places and at the most bizarre times. For that
reason, leave nothing to chance. Every time you walk out of your office,
be ready to make a powerful first impression.
(c) 2004, Lydia Ramsey. All
rights in all media reserved.
Lydia Ramsey is a business
etiquette expert, professional speaker, corporate trainer and author of
MANNERS THAT SELL - ADDING THE POLISH THAT BUILDS PROFITS.
Company Name: Manners That
Author: Lydia Ramsey
Address: One Longfellow Lane
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