To be completely honest, I was at a loss for what to write about this week. I take the use of this space very seriously, trying to share information that will help lead to fresh revenue streams, new clients, stronger relationships, and smarter salespeople. But for whatever reason, I could not come up with a subject that I have not previously touched upon that would provide value to MNA members who take the time to read The Sales Cycle in hopes of learning something new or – at the very least – feeling inspired.
As I walked from the parking ramp I use daily to the MNA offices this morning through the downtown Minneapolis skyway system, an idea finally hit me. As professional newspaper salespeople, we’re constantly calling new prospects and setting up meetings to discuss the opportunities that exist to partner on marketing initiatives. This means that we spend a large portion of our week introducing ourselves to people for the first time.
They say that you have seven seconds to make a first impression. Seven seconds to assure the person in front of you that they’ve made a wise choice in agreeing to meet with you.
Make a poor first impression, and the meeting will likely be your last. However, a good first impression can lead to a client that will last a lifetime. Luckily, you are in control of your own destiny when it comes to how you are first judged.
This morning I noticed a young man in his early to mid-twenties as I walked past him. My first seven second impression of him: clean shaven with well-groomed hair, a wrinkle-free tailored suit, and a stylish leather briefcase on his shoulder. His appearance made me realize that there are two things I subconsciously look for when meeting people for the first time that influences my initial judgment of them. Is it possible that your clients may also be noticing the same things about you?
It’s all about your feet.
1. If you’re “dressing to impress” – wearing business attire meant to highlight your professionalism—always keep your shoes in mint condition. People look from your face to your feet. If your shoes aren’t well maintained, the client may question whether you pay attention to other details. Shoes should be polished, salt-free in the Winter months, and appropriate for the business environment. They may the last thing you put on before you walk out the door, but they are often the first thing your client sees when you walk through the door.
2. Studies show that people who walk 10-20% faster than others are viewed as important and energetic—just the kind of person your clients want to do business with. Pick up the pace and move with purpose if you want to impress. A faster stride helps improve your posture, giving you a look of confidence. Moving with purpose shows your client that you value their time and want to make the most of it – while also giving the signal that you intend to stay on task. Keep in mind that there is a distinct difference between moving with purpose and making the client feel rushed or less important than the next meeting on your schedule. Find a balance that works for you.
It’s critical for salespeople to understand the impact that a first impression has in building a successful sales relationship. It all starts (or ends) in the first seven seconds, from your head to your feet. Now go sell!
Have a terrific week,
If there are specific topics you’d like to see discussed in a future issue of The Sales Cycle, please contact me at 612-278-0223 or firstname.lastname@example.org