Seven seconds. That’s all the time you get to make a good first impression. It feels unfair that that’s all you have. After all, that is the same amount of time it takes to sing the alphabet or paint one of your fingernails. But it’s true. So therefore, it’s important to make that first moment count and capture the customer’s attention and business. Here are some tips and techniques before your next first meeting.
Facial and Body Awareness
If your first encounters with customers are face to face, consider what customers see when they meet you. Crossed arms, sluggish body positioning, sweaty hands, a messy appearance, looking down or away, and a grumpy or bored expression will ruin your first impression in less than 7 seconds. The customer SEES you first, before they even hear what you have to say.
For these reasons, make sure to begin on the right path. Good posture along with friendly hand gestures is a start. Take a look in the mirror also, looking at your attire and general appearance. You don’t have to have the swankiest clothes, but a clean, neat appearance and general good grooming habits gives off the impression you care about yourself and what people think.
Also consider your face. Maintaining eye contact and smiling (no matter what!) is also a pleasant start. It shows customers you’re interested in them and are happy to see them.
Your Professional Attitude
A smile automatically makes you look positive, but you have to take it the next step. Once you begin to speak, try to have a friendly attitude, along with an air of confidence. You don’t want to come off overbearing and pushy, but it’s important for the new customer to gather you’re knowledgeable, professional and confident. It also doesn’t hurt to be courteous (would you like a glass of water or a cup of coffee?) and honest (if you don’t know, admit that you don’t). Those are the types of businesses clients trust and want to work with.
But more important than anything else, make sure to focus on THEM. Close the door, ignore your email and silence your phone. Take distractions out of the equation so you can give them your full attention. There’s nothing more off-putting than a person texting, glancing at their computer and signaling to others when a customer speaks. It makes the customer feel unimportant and it’s just poor customer service.
If your first impressions commonly happen online, a lot of this same thinking can be applied to your email and website. It does begin with a user-friendly, easy to understand and read design, followed by the professional attitude we discussed earlier.
A parting thought: According to the Harvard Study of Communications, they found on average it takes meeting the same person seven more times to change a first impression. To avoid this challenge, let Direct Opinions help you increase your first impression rate of success by gathering data on your customers’ first impressions and determining solutions.