How to Make a Memorable First Impression

August 25, 2013
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Article provided by Chris Kuhnen, Funeral Profit Protectors

A first impression can often help to make or break a relationship, agreement or transaction. Seven seconds is the average length of time you have to make a great first impression. If yours isn’t good, you won’t get another chance with that person.  Making a lasting positive first impression will heighten your professional performance as well as your success.

Bill Brooks, president of The Brooks Group. A service consulting company in Greensboro. N.C. offered eight tips use to improve the way that you first meet people.

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Portray a confident but not superior manner. A lack of self-confidence is apparent to most anyone, and if you don’t act like you believe in yourself and your product or service, your prospect won’t either. Portray confidence, being careful not to appear arrogant. Keep in mind that this subtle line between confidence and arrogance is sometimes easily crossed.

A clean, neat appearance is essential.  When you meet someone face-to-face, 93 percent of how you are judged is based on your appearance and body language, according to Lydia Ramsey, author of Manners that Sell-Adding the Polish that Builds Profits. Showing up wearing wrinkled or dirty clothes and sporting unkempt hair will do nothing but suggest a lack of respect for your prospect. Do your best to dress slightly above but never below the type of prospect you are calling on. Keep your shoes in mint condition. If your shoes aren’t maintained, the prospects would question whether you pay attention to other details. When your initial encounter is over the telephone, 70 percent of how you are perceived is based on your tone of voice, and 30 percent on your words.

Simply smile! Smiling fosters a positive. friendly atmosphere, which is exactly what you want if you hope to eventually finalize any transaction.

Fine-tune your handshake. The first move you make when meeting your prospect is to extend your hand. Are your nails trimmed and neat? Hands clean? There isn’t a person anywhere who can’t tell you that a good handshake should be a firm one. Not bone crushing. Just firm and sure. You’ll be assured of getting off to a good start if you position your hand to make complete contact with the other person’s hand. Once you’ve connected, close your thumb over the back of the other person’s hand and give a slight squeeze.

Use the prospect’s name immediately. Remember to pronounce your prospect’s name cor­rectly. This simple mistake can cause a fatal setback in your attempt to make the preneed sale. When you use the prospect’s name in conversation you’re sending a message that you value that person and are focused on them.

Choose your words carefully. Although research shows your words make up a mere 7 percent of what people think of you, don’t leave them to chance. Express some form of thank-you when you meet the prospect. When you meet the prospects say “Thank you for taking time to see me today”. Prospects appreciate you when you appreciate them.

Always wear a professionally manufactured name badge. A name badge should include your first and last name, business title and company name and/or logo. Make the lettering large enough to be easily scene from three feet away.

Set a tone of importance. A casual or nonchalant attitude is certain to raise questions in the prospect’s mind. The prospect is likely to wonder if you’re serious about the value of your preneed products and services. He also may wonder how important fulfilling his death care needs is to you.

Avoid being apologetic. Extensive apologies for any news stories related to wrongdoing by a member of the death care industry simply raise questions in the prospect’s mind regarding your confidence in yourself and your preneed products and services.

Be comfortable, easy and relaxed. Make your prospect feel at ease. The first step to establishing a comfortable relationship is for you to be comfortable yourself. Match your body language to your oral message. A smile or pleasant expression tells your prospect you are glad to be with them. Eye contact says you are paying attention and are interested in what is being said. Leaning in toward the prospect makes you appear engaged and involved in the conversation. Use as many signals as you can to look interested and interesting.

Don’t attack anything the person says. Your first meeting sets the stage for your relationship. If you say antagonizing or distracting things. you jeopardize this relationship.

Never leave the office without your business cards. Your business cards and how you handle them contribute to your total image. Have a good supplky with you at all times. Keep your cards in a card case or holder where they are protected from wear and tear. That way you will be able to find them without a lot of fumbling around and they will always be in pristine condition.

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