You might have your own opinions on how to make a good first impression. Making a good first impression involves many different aspects, the most important of which is being personable. Let me define personable and you can make the call on whether to agree or disagree with me. According to dictionary dot com, personable means pleasing in appearance and personality. Appearance is the first thing someone notices when they first meet you and personality is not far behind. Let me touch on both of these attributes first and then we'll dive into the others.
If you are in sales (which I am assuming you are if you're reading this) you need to dress the part. Dress for success. You will look good and feel more professional. Also, make sure your body is clean and smelling good. Your hair should be cut and nicely styled, your face well groomed (if your a guy or a woman with a lot of facial hair) and if the barn needs painting ladies, by all means paint it!
Before we get into the good stuff, I'm going to back track a little, when you set up an appointment, don't tell your prospective client you will be there at a certain time, give them a block of time i. e.between 9 and 9:30am. This will give you a cushion in case you are running late. Being late for an appointment will not help you make a good first impression.
Next, when you walk into an appointment, make sure you have a smile on your face. Tell whoever greets you who you are, where you are from and who you are seeing. Then when you meet with your prospect, still be smiling, look them right in the eye, give them a firm handshake, introduce yourself and ask them, “how are you?" Turn the focus of your meeting to them, which should immediately disarm them. Let the prospect know why you are there and what's in it for them. Then, ask them questions that will enable you to best serve them. Listen (really listen) to your prospects wants and needs so you can later meet and exceed those wants and needs.
According to statistics, first impressions are made in the first 20 seconds, and a bad first impression takes 20 additional contacts to rectify that bad first impression. I don't know if I completely buy those stats, but you can see how important good first impressions are.
You've all heard the expression, practice makes perfect. Personally, I believe practice makes permanent. In either case, practice making first impressions. See how you look in the mirror. Ask others how your handshake is. Practice eye contact and also get a canned opening (without it sounding canned) down pat. Know what questions to ask, practice your listening skills and be empathetic. If being personable is key, empathy is not far behind. Now, go out there and make good first impressions.
Mike Bova is the Madison County Advertising Director & Business Columnist for Eagle Newspapers in Syracuse, NY. Mike owns several websites including http://www.upstateshopping.com The Upstate New York Shopping And Business Directory. Mike has spoken in front of many business groups, shattered a lot of sales records, conducted several sales training seminars and trains corporate sales staffs how to sell more. Mike is launching his own site soon.