Here’s something I learned early on in my sales career—first impressions matter! If there’s one thing to always be mindful of, it’s to pay attention on how you’re coming across to the people that you’re communicating with. It’s even more important when you’re communicating with them for the first time!
While studies don’t all agree on the same exact number, they do all agree that you have less than 30 seconds to impress someone, and roughly 7 seconds before someone makes a judgement. With such a small time frame to make you mark, there’s a lot to pay attention to. Fortunately there are some simple techniques that anyone can use of to help make a strong, long-lasting first impression.
Be on Time
I cannot stress this enough. Time is one of the most important things we have on this planet; respect the appointment! This is the easiest way to ruin a first impression, and the most difficult to come back from.
Attitude is Key
Believe it or not, your attitude rubs off on people and can easily be picked up on. If you’re having a good day, most likely you look happy and it will be easy for people to form a positive first impression of you. The same concept applies to when you’re having a bad day—you may come across as unhappy and unapproachable. Always try to stay positive!
What you wear tells a lot about you as a person. Additionally, it can also help make you feel better and increase you confidence. Want to feel like a million bucks? Dress like a million bucks! Upping your confidence helps you become more approachable. Everyone feels better when they get dressed up and look good.
This goes without question. Eye contact is vital when meeting someone and building rapport for the first time.
Always be mindful to speak clearly and confidently. Try to match the person your are speaking with as far as tone goes. If you’re dealing with someone who is coming across as shy or soft, lowering your voice can go a long way.
A smile is contagious. Chances are whoever you are smiling towards will also smile back at you, which can help take the edge off of a stressful situation. Additionally, smiling will trick your brain into feeling happy even if you’re feeling blue.
Research has shown that the majority of communication is non-verbal. Always try to be mindful that you’re standing up straight, and try leaning into someone when they are speaking to show them you are listening. When in doubt, mirror the other persons body language. Mirroring someone else is a nonverbal way of saying that you have something in common with them.
Everyone has heard this old line before: You only get one shot to make a first impression. It may sound cliche but in my experience, it’s true. When you’re dealing with people on a day-to-day basis, understanding cues and learning how to make the best first impression is as important as knowing how to run your business. Happy customers are returning customers, and returning customers are revenue.