Rock a first impression!
First impressions are important, especially if we’re in a sales role. How can we expect someone to buy the product we’re selling if they can’t buy into what we’re saying? This may sound out of order, but we’ve found it to be true:
Before focusing on anything else, make sure you sell yourself first. Think about it; would you buy a product from someone you didn’t trust? Someone who didn’t know what they were talking about? So, we’ve done some digging and have come up with helpful tips on how to nail a first impression. Remember, you only get one try. If you’re a sales professional and you’re pitching to a potential customer or client, this is it. So make it count!
Our first tip is very important, yet it can easily be overlooked. When you’re preparing for a sales pitch, it’s common to get your mind wrapped around the details. When doing this, your presentation may seem too staged. Trying to make an impression may actually make a bad impression. So, relax! Act as natural as you can and be yourself! The person you’re selling to wants to know the real you. Try to connect with them on a more personal level before jumping into the sales pitch.
Along with relaxing, another important factor is your body language. Be conscious of yours and the other person’s as well. Be engaging and try to read what your potential client is thinking. If they look confused, slow down and try to better explain the product. If they seem excited, mirror their excitement. Your potential client is the most important person in the room. Make them feel comfortable!
Choosing that perfect outfit is important as well. Make sure you’re dressed for the job. If it’s a more formal setting, dress professionally. If you’re in a laid-back environment, try to dress up your casual look so the potential client knows you care. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. If you show up looking like a slob, it devalues what you think of them and what their time means to you. Show them you appreciate their time and you know their time is valuable. Arriving a few minutes early won’t hurt either! Be respectful of their time. It’s never a good thing when someone already has a bad taste in their mouth before you actually meet.
Before you meet this new person for the first time, set an intention for the meeting. What is it you want them to know about you? What connections do you want to make? What are some talking points you are hoping to hit by the time you leave? These are all things to think about, and it might help to write out a short list of intentions before the meeting. It will clear your mind and calm you down, helping you act more natural.
Now that you’re dressed for success and the potential client is comfortable, remember to be real with them. Mention the things you like and dislike about the product you’re selling. Don’t beat around the bushes. People love honesty–it’s how you build a person’s trust! For instance, when you’re at a restaurant and you can’t decide what to order, you may ask the waiter what they recommend or if they had to choose between two dishes, which would they choose. If the waiter gives a specific answer telling you exactly what they like or dislike, many believe and trust what they have to say, compared to a waiter who says everything on the menu is great. People want to believe what you’re saying, so give them a reason to!
Lastly, how you conduct yourself is a huge factor when making a positive first impression. The conduct you display is a matter of preparation. To successfully do all the things mentioned earlier, it will take some extra time on your end to fully prepare ahead of time. Think about these things: Who is attending the meeting or who it is you’re meeting? What is their background? Where did they grow up? What are their hobbies? What’s the demographic here–are they older? Younger? Are there any similar interests or common friends you may have who are worth mentioning? These pieces of information are not only potential talking points, but also things to keep in the back of your mind when presenting. Present to the person in front of you, not the wall you’ve been practicing to in your room. Make a real relationship with the person you’re meeting! Listen effectively and cater to their needs.
We know making a positive first impression can be nerve racking, so simply remember that there’s no one better for this role than you! Be confident. Be yourself. You’ve got this! HLM
Sources: businessinsider.com, entrepreneur.com and forbes.com.