Even though we’re taught not to judge a book by its cover, first impressions are critical to how we are received after the first few moments of an introduction. Prospects and clients are no different, so it’s important that you take your first moments with a new potential client very seriously. Your first impression sets the tone for how receptive your prospect will be to your sales message.
So how are we being assessed during those first few moments? Surprisingly, what you are actually saying is near the bottom of the list. Visual cues, like appearance and body language are what take hold first. The tone of your voice is also important.
Here’s some ways to make sure the first impression you make is a good one:
Use the other person’s name right away. When you use the client’s name within the first few seconds of conversation, you are sending a message that you value that person and are focused on him. Nothing gets other people’s attention as effectively as calling them by name.
Give good handshake. It should be firm, but not too strong—and never limp.
Pay attention to your body language. Make eye contact and don’t forget to smile. This will make your prospect feel comfortable and convey that you are interested in them.
Choose your first words carefully. Although they’re near the bottom of the list in terms of importance to your first impression, there’s no reason to leave them to chance. Lydia Ramsey, author of Manners That Sell, suggests expressing some form of thank you when you meet the client, such as, “Thank you for taking your time to see me today.” Clients will appreciate you when you appreciate them.
Don’t forget good grooming. An unprofessional appearance is difficult to make up for. If your prospect’s office follows professional dress, you should too. Hair and hands, for both men and women, should be well groomed.
I hope this helps.