Do first impressions really make a difference? Maybe. Maybe not. But I can guarantee you this: a bad first impression will ALWAYS make a difference and it will cost you the loss of business.
This morning I received an email posting that had a series of sales articles and links to sponsors. I clicked through to one of the sponsors and it led me to a business services company with a nicely-designed website complete with slick graphics and flash animation.
At the bottom of their home page was a message from the president and founder, and his photo. He seemed like a decent person, had a nice smile. But he was wearing a tie with a wrinkled shirt with his top button undone, his tie loosened around his neck, and his sloppy shirt sleeves rolled up in a random and hasty pattern.
Perhaps the message they tried to convey was this: “We’re working very hard for you. See how hard we’re working? Our president’s tie is undone and look at how wrinkled his shirt is. We’re working very hard and that’s why this happened.” But the message I picked up was this: “We don’t know enough about business to convey a good first impression. Or we just don’t care. Or we have better things to worry about.”
Their message of being busy serving a customer may be a good message, but it came about at the wrong time. It might be a good second message. Their first message from their president should have been this: “You are important enough for me to appear to you at my very very best, and we can provide value for you. We invite the opportunity to showcase our value. Please read more.” A good first impression may do nothing, but a bad one will cause walls to go up.
When you are visiting a prospective client for the first time, even if they are in a blue collar industry, you are always expected to follow the unwritten rule of looking your best. Get a nice $20 pen or even a $50 Cross pen. Bring your pad of paper in a leather-bound or even leatherette-bound case. Make sure you are dressed in a sharp suit and that you look polished. If you do all this, they might not notice. And that’s okay. But if you don’t, they most certainly will notice, and you most certainly will lose the sale.
- Scott Love
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Copyright © 2011 Scott Love