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How not to blow the first few seconds

When it comes to selling, first impressions are vital.

Your job is to convince the person you are talking to that they need and want your product or service. Unless they have come to you via a very strong referral admitting they have a problem and knowing you have the answer you have to firstly build some rapport and trust with them before you have much chance of convincing them that they are not wasting their time by listening to you let alone trusting you enough to part with their hard earned budget or cash.


Four to eleven seconds, maybe less…

As soon as a stranger lays eyes on you they make assumptions about you. Are you shy or outgoing? Are you likeable, trustworthy, fake, friendly or clever? Forbes magazine states that it can take as little as seven seconds for a person to make up their mind about you. And as they say, you don't get a second chance at a first impression.

It is just as true on the phone. It becomes essential not to blow the first seconds of meeting someone or speaking to them.

Here are some tips on what to do, and what not to do in order to make the right impression. 



When meeting a client face-to-face you not only have to be careful of what you say, but what you look like and your body language.

As you are in a profession and wish to show that you are serious about what you are doing you need to look the part. This means wearing nice clothes such as a suit, or at least a top quality shirt and trousers or a smart dress. Consider investing as close as you can to the value of one week’s gross income into what you are wearing. That is the income you want to earn. If you want to earn £52,000 this year, wear £1,000 worth of clothes. Grooming and hygiene is also a part of this. You need to look like you put effort into your appearance.



Non verbal communication is just as important, if not more important than what you actually say. Forbes magazine actually states that non-verbal communication is four times more important than verbal. People can tell a lot about your personality from your tone, facial expressions, gesticulations and general body language. Read up on body language, especially how to mirror, match and lead.


Smile and handshake

One of the first things that happens when you see someone is that you go over to greet them. This will give them a good idea of what kind of person you are. You want them to think that you are a friendly, happy individual who is genuinely looking out for their best interests. The best thing to do is smile, have a good posture, and look them in the eye as you present yourself. You also need to have the right amount of distance between you, shake their hand with just the right amount of pressure; not too tight, not too gentle and dry please...


Smiling works on the phone

Smiling uses less facial and neck muscles so when you smile while talking on the phone your muscles relax and the tone of your voice changes slightly, the other person can hear the tension, or lack of it in the tone of your voice.

Good posture also gives your diaphragm more room to move so your voice drops an octave – that gets heard too, so sit up or stand when calling on the telephone.


Prepare like crazy to be more natural

Before you even turn up to your client, or call them on the phone, you need to have done your homework. You need to be able to talk confidently about your subject and able to answer any questions they have. More importantly you need to ask relevant productive questions of them. Questions which show you know something about them and help create a conversion they find engaging. Questions which show you are interested in them. It is more important to be interested than not for you to try and tell interesting stories.


Stop selling

Don't make it seem like you are only talking to them to sell them something. People don’t like to be sold, they don’t even like to be told. First concentrate on them, make the conversation about understanding them initially and then move on to questions about where what you do could be relevant to what they do. If your intention is to help them, to add relevant value and you come across as credible then you don’t have to sell – they will buy you first and then move on to buy what you can do for them.


So in summary

If you want to make a great first impression, dress the part, improve your understanding and use of body language, learn to smile both on the phone and face to face, develop a good handshake, prepare like crazy and STOP selling…


If you want to improve your sales skills as well as your sales results, then contact me here

For more information please send a message via the Contact Us Page. Or you can register for an upcoming webinar.

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