You only get one chance to make a first impression, which means that if you’re trying to establish yourself in business, you better be prepared. It has been proven that people develop opinions of us in a matter of seconds upon meeting us for the first time. This means that we need to be prepared to present ourselves in a professional manner at all times. As sales professionals, we tend to spend a lot of energy ensuring that everyone we meet leaves with a positive first impression. We do this by spending countless hours developing and practicing our elevator pitches to ensuring that our handshake is appropriate for the situation.
To help ensure that you make the best first impression possible, I have listed some helpful tips.
- Attire – When you are trying to make a positive first impression, you should choose clothes that project a professional image. One of the first things that people notice is what you are wearing. Because of this, you should par particularly close attention to what you wear when you are meeting a prospective client for the first time.
- Body Language – When you meet someone for the first time, they will likely notice your body language. If you present yourself with a closed and slouched stance, you are projecting to the person you are meeting that you are not interested in what they have to say. To make a positive first impression, you should stand-up straight, with your shoulders back and your arms at your side. This posture demonstrates that you enthusiastic, interested, and ready to get down to business.
- Speak Clearly – If no one can understand what you are trying to say, there is little value in what you have to say. When you meet someone for the first time, you should speak in a confident and competent manner. This will ensure that you present yourself in a positive light and that your message is heard.
- Eye Contact – In order to make a good first impression, you should make sure that you lock eyes with the person you are speaking with. You should maintain eye contact until after you shake hands and sit down. If you avoid making eye contact, the person that you are speaking with may feel as though you are hiding something.
- Practice – If you are not 100% comfortable with what you are planning on saying, you should take some time and practice. The more comfortable you are when speaking, the easier it will be for your message to be heard. It will also help you present a clam and knowledgeable demeanor.
- Be Open – The potential client that you are meeting with should feel that you are open to new ideas and information. When you meet someone for the first time you should avoid giving that impression that you are only interested in what will benefit your company and yourself. Actively listen to what the other person is saying and offer comments, when appropriate, on what they are saying.
- Be Polite – If your meeting is scheduled at the offices of your prospective client, you should make sure that you are polite to everyone you encounter upon your arrival. You should greet the receptionist in a friendly manner and anyone else in the office. Being polite can go a long way in establishing a positive first impression on a large group of individuals who may be asked for their opinion.
- Listen – One of the most common mistakes that individuals make when meeting a potential client for the first time is to dominate the conversation. It is important that you spend just as much time listening to what they have to say as you spend explaining your services or products. This will demonstrate that you care about what they have to say and are willing to listen to their ideas and learn more about what they may be in need of.
First impressions can be the difference between potential clients becoming long-term clients. If you follow these tips, you should be able to make a positive first impression that will leave your clients impressed and eager to get started. Never ignore the importance of a first impression.