Impressions–You are the company!
A corporation may spread itself over the whole world…may employ one hundred thousand . . . yet the average person will form a judgment of the corporation through contact with one single individual. If this person is rude or inefficient, it will require a lot of courtesy and efficiency to overcome the bad impression. Every member of an organization who, in any capacity, comes in contact with the public, is a sales professional; the impression made is an advertisement, good or bad!
Most of us are quick to make judgments of our fellow humans based on very little information or inaccurate information. We tend to judge each other on first impressions and are slow to change our mind. Because of the impact we can make on people in the first couple of minutes during a social encounter, it is important that sales professionals make a favorable positive first impression.
Like it or not, lasting impressions are formed in the first few seconds of an interaction with another person. Usually, the first 30 seconds is all it takes to formulate either a positive or negative impression. If a positive impression is made, you have a good chance to continue the conversation. If you make a negative impression, chances favor the person not wanting to further the discussion, and the person will attempt to cut off the discussion as soon as possible. It should be your goal to make a positive impression with everyone you meet, especially those you meet in a selling situation.
The First Encounter
➫Initial emotional judgment.
➫Formed in 30 seconds or less.
Think of what happens when you meet someone for the first time. Part of your impression is formed from subconscious assessments of tone of voice, firmness of a handshake, types of gestures and mannerisms, style of walk, type of dress, physical makeup, and type of personality. The purpose of this chapter is to teach you what you must do to be able to create positive first impressions during your social encounters with other people, especially in selling situations. Learning to package yourself will be a great tool during your lifetime.
CONTACT–THE FIRST FOUR MINUTES
One of the best books written on developing first impressions is Contact: The First Four Minutes by Leonard and Natalie Zunie. The authors state that the first four minutes are the most crucial, or the average time in which strangers interact before they decide to continue or end their encounter with other people. This four-minute concept applies to everyone, especially people in the selling industry. We have all been somewhere and wanted to talk to the individual next to us. We search for a way to open the conversation. When we do this, we are faced with the four-minute barrier, or the amount of time it takes to be received or rejected. Contact is the way a person meets and relates to other people during this initial interaction. When we meet someone for the first time, many things help contribute to what the person says to us. In fact, gestures, posture, facial expressions, and other nonverbal communication contribute 55 percent of what is said to others. We will now discuss all the crucial elements that help form the image we give to other people during our first encounters.
First Impression Factors
■55% comes from what we see.
‒Dress and appearance
■38% comes from tone of voice.
■7% comes from our words.