Problem: Stan always felt uncomfortable in those first few minutes when meeting a prospect for the first time. He sensed that his prospects felt the same way when he met them. He wondered how his anxiousness affected his prospects and what impact it had on his sales calls and his income.
Analysis: You’ve heard this one a million times, but it’s true. You have only 7-10 seconds when first meeting someone to make a favorable impression. People will form an impression of you when you first meet and anything less than perfect starts you out with one foot in the hole making it difficult to regain rapport and credibility. Statistics published by W. Brooks show that making an unfavorable first impression will reduce your chances of getting the business by 93%. Making a favorable impression is one of those areas of selling where a slight edge can make a huge difference.
Solution: To refine and polish your first impression, there are several things to remember:
- Do your homework ahead of time and find out what your prospect’s behavioral style is and, if appropriate, something about the person that you can ask about.
- Where appropriate, send a note or call in advance to confirm the appointment.
- Be on time.
- Dress properly for the occasion, but err on the side of being overdressed.
- Use their name when introduced. (A person’s name is their most favorite word plus it will help you remember it later).
- Match their handshake and frequency of eye contact. Remember, body language is 55% of rapport.
- Be aware of appropriate distance, usually 4-5 feet for Drivers and Analytical styles, and 3-4 feet for Amiable and Socializer behavioral styles.
- Stand erect leaning in slightly. Too upright is often interpreted as confrontational and can be intimidating.