Ever notice when some people enter the room, that things just seem to stop for a second? I am not talking about physical beauty, I am talking about a certain magnetic quality, charisma, poise, and confidence. In a split second, you might form an impression, and an opinion based on appearance, body language, demeanor, and how they are dressed.
First impressions are tough to change, so making that first contact in a positive vein is critical because it set the tone for future relationships. Is it fair? Maybe not – but many people are guilty of committing fouls. I have a quote on my Facebook page in the “About” section that says, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression…. it’s not just for dandruff commercials anymore!” and I am a firm believer of this statement. It’s all well and good to want to be accepted “just the way you are” and being an individual IS good… standing out IS good…. it just need to be in the right way. As with all things good for you, you must learn to balance and adapt to the professional environment both in presentation and image. Now please do not misinterpret this blog! I am not saying that we want a bunch of three-piece-suit robots, because everyone does not need to be the same. What I am saying is that in the workplace one has to follow the social rules…. you need to conform to the environment, and walk the fine line on how you want to distinguish yourself from the crowd within the confines of that environment.
Here are a few considerations,
- SMILE …. there is nothing more welcoming than a warm smile and expression. Think of the “Happy” song!
- EYE CONTACT … be interested in what is being said by making good eye contact.
- TIMELINESS … not being on time (10 minutes early) is a sign of disrespect! You have worked hard to get the appointment so don’t ruin it from the start by not being there on time.
- COMFORT … be yourself, be at ease. Learn to channel your nerves.
- PRESENTATION … present yourself appropriately. Follow the dress code of your brand and do not over/under dress for the environment in which you are selling. Just because it is casual Friday in your office doesn’t mean it is in your customer’s office. Trendy is also good, but be mindful of your audience and tone up/down when necessary.
- POSITIVE … maintain an upbeat manner and smile. Avoid negative selling scenarios, strive to reinforce the positive! Instead of making excuses for an amenity you don’t have, present an alternative solution in a positive light. (“We can help you arrange transportation for your attendees from the airport. We have a relationship with Local Transport and they will pick up and deliver your guests and the fee can be added to your hotel folio.”)
- THINK BEYOND YOURSELF … Try not to use the “I” word too much. Be the person that inspires interest by placing your own interests to one side.
- BYE BYE … identify the next step. Make sure you have all contact information and the customer has your digits. Confirm what is the next step before you leave.
- REMEMBER … as important as a first impression, is the lasting impression. Why should the customer remember you?
- FOLLOW UP … saying thank you seems simple, but are you actually doing it?