Selling to the Senses - How to Master the Art of the First Impression
By Kevin Nations
The fine art of professional selling is a production. You can do it poorly, or you can do it excellently. A great deal of selling depends on interaction with your prospective client. But - to a great deal - within the first two minutes of any interaction, the client has already formed a bias. Either he wants to be working with you to reach a common goal, or he's simply getting as much information as he can to share with your competitor for a better deal. You can be prepared to wow your prospects when you pay close attention to how your prospect "senses that he should do business with you.
Think of every sensory interaction that your prospect has with you from the first meeting until the first time they buy from you. Each of those interactions will build the prospect's vision of you.
What are some of the sensory (See, Hear, Smell, Feel?) experiences your prospect has that reflect who you are before he says "Yes"? You may not be conscious of these interactions, but your prospect is. DO NOT leave any of these interactions to chance.
"Your in-person "introductory commercial". If you are networking or being introduced to someone, this is the first chance they have to make an impression of you. Don't blow it by "winging this. Develop a scripted two-sentence commercial for your business and be able to deliver it with ease.
"Your outbound voice mail messages. You can bet that you will get placed into more voice mail boxes than you will get people live. Again, don't let this opportunity to shine embarrass you because you're not prepared. You called them - how could you not know what you are going to say?
"Your inbound voice mail messages. Change your voice mail message daily, if possible. Set expectations for when you'll be unavailable during the day and when you'll be returning calls. Suggest an alternate number for an emergency if you are not immediately available.
"Your car. Yes - from time to time, clients walk you to your car - meet you in the lot when they are arriving at the same time as you. Throw away the hamburger wrappers and the pop cans off the floorboards. Can this win accounts for you? It can lose them! Do it today.
"Your business cards. Have plenty of them. Know where they are. Carry them in such a way as to guarantee that they won't be dog-eared when you present them. This is a production. Don't hand someone your business card, present them with it! Be excellent on purpose.
"Your in-person voice. Pace your client. Don't talk too fast (He won't trust you) or too slow (He'll think you are talking down to him). For both sexes, the lower you make your voice naturally, the more respect you command.
"Your handshake. Match to slightly lead your client in firmness when you shake hands. Don't make them call 911 because you are trying to exude confidence.
"Your clothes. Dress a little above the expectation of your clients that you call on. Show them that you respect them by what you wear. The best outfit to wear is one that draws no attention to itself. You're going to dress differently to visit a Fortune 50 CFO than you will to visit the manager of a Landscape Company.
"Your Accessories and grooming. For men, your shoes, watch and grooming should be impeccable. For women, nails, shoes, and accessories are always on display.
"Your smell. Very light scents are the key here. Don't overpower, but be impeccably fresh. Whatever you do - don't miss out on the chance to make a first impression by offering anything less than perfect breath. A moment or two with a mint in the car will help you avoid having your client so distracted that she can't focus on your presentation.
When you master the above, you will establish trust much more quickly and help your client come to a decision for your service with less internal conflict. Each of them is easy to do. If you're not careful, they are also easy to overlook. Make a personal checklist to start your work day and one before each call. Ensure that you make the best impression possible and watch your sales respond.
About The Author
Kevin Nations, the Six Figure Sales Coach, helps sales professionals and small business owners develop multiple Six Figure income streams within their business.
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