The sales (influence) process begins before you say your first word. On average, people will make a judgment of you within the first 10 seconds of meeting you or experiencing your marketing materials. Your first impression will either elevate or deflate your chances of making a sale so make sure it is positive!
Harvesting a sale is much like cultivating a garden; you must prepare the soil before you plant the seeds and then nurture them through the growing stages up through the harvest. If you have good “seed” (your product or service), well prepared “soil” (the disposition of your prospect) and you “plant” wisely (your presentation), you should receive a bountiful harvest of many satisfied clients.
There are 10 key ways to help prepare a positive first impression:
1) Make sure all of your marketing materials are professional and impactful. This includes your business cards, your brochures and your website.
2) Dress professionally and neatly. As a general rule, dress a bit nicer than the prospect you are meeting.
3) Smile with your whole face. Most people can detect a phony smile, so be genuine and smile with authenticity.
4) Move with intention, shoulders back and head held high. When you move with vigor and with intention, you lift your own attitude as well as others around you.
5) Maintain eye contact but don’t stare your prospect down. Subconsciously, others will lose trust in you if you can’t maintain some level of eye contact.
6) Mirror & match your prospect. By matching the temperament & posture of your prospect, they will subconsciously feel that you are like them in some way. Mirroring & matching is a strong raport builder.
7) Be on time. When you show up late, you have shown a lack of integrity and the level of trust drops.
8) Learn how to shake hands properly. Avoid the “wet fish” or the bone-crushing grasp. Shoot for a full and firm handshake with 2-3 “pumps”.
9) Show respect for your prospect and the time you are asking for. Be sensitive to their time constraints but never apologize for taking time.
10) One powerful way to set up a strong first impression is to send a “Shock & Awe” package prior to your first meeting. The package should be first rate with the intention of setting you apart from your competition. A good Shock & Awe package could be contained in a very nice portfolio with professionally done brochures, DVD & product samples if you have them.