Today’s blog post is brought to you by DELL and the brand new Vostro V130 laptop*. Its sleek look makes a fantastic first impression that is only paralleled by its functionality.
Inspired by the Vostro V130’s great first impression, I asked the CarolRoth.com contributor network of entrepreneurs and experts to give their best tips for making a great first impression in business. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
You may notice some similar ideas and themes, but I kept their insights separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.
*Sponsor Note: Intercap Merchant Partners was provided a free Vostro V130 as part of this sponsorship*
1. Say Nothing, Appear Great!
The absolute best way to make a great first impression is to let the OTHER party do the talking. The psychology behind this simple trick is amazing. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard how great and insightful I am when the person I met tells other people about me. Yet I said basically NOTHING beyond, "Please tell me about yourself". Of course, the caveat to this is that you MUST be interested in what the person is saying. Most people will pick up if you are patronizing them or not.
2. If You Just Make 'Em Roar...
Cole Porter wrote: "If you just make 'em roar, watch your Mountebank account soar!" and he was right!
The best way to make a great impression in business is to make a good impression personally. That means eliciting laughs. People love to laugh and showcasing quick wit is a great way to establish a great rapport with someone.
Channel your inner comic. But be sure to relinquish the spotlight when it's appropriate.
3. Knowledge is Power
Aside from the fundamentals of searching the company across all channels including traditional media and social, do some academic research on their sector. A little known but highly effective source for academic research is Google Scholar. If you come to the table by adding value to their company, how much better are you suited for what follows? Being conversant in some highly relevant applied research for their sector puts you in a position of power. You have want they want.
Robert Rippee of FORMO
4. Show Your Pearly Whites
The best way to make a lasting first impression in business is to be positive and show it with a smile. People are attracted to positive people. Everyone wants to be around people who see the glass as half full, rather than half empty. You can find a way to love anything in life; it's just a matter of how you look at it. Whatever life throws your way, be sure to be as positive as you can about it. That will make a lasting first impression.
5. A Welcome Card
In addition to my user-friendly website and answering the phone myself, I send my new patients a welcome card that I designed using SendOutCards. It has the photo on the left on it and invites my patients to a therepeutic partnership that will maximize their health.
6. Pay Genuine Attention
Look people in the eye, showcase genuine interest, and be generous. Those are among the best ways to make a winning first impression. And if that first impression is to be achieved online, be sure to showcase your passion for and commitment to deliver stunning, decisive results that matter to your ideal client.
7. Sell It Well
Conventional business practice says be humble whenever you try to make a good first impression, but the fact is, many people formulate negative opinions about you, or just have non-opinions about you, which is just as bad, since you're not receiving the proper attention or recognition you deserve. So, you should make a good effort to show who you are, the accomplishments you've made, and the mutual exchange you can have with another (intellectually, personally and professionally).
8. Garanimals for Business
Make a great first impression by making sure everything matches - your website, your domain name, your email address, and even your phone number can be set to match your business name. Use your company colors for your promotional products, paint schemes, and Twitter and Facebook pages. Everything your customer sees can be tied back to your brand.
Matching everything creates a great first impression because it's easy to recognize you and build trust. Trust makes it easy to refer you.
9. Be Different
People make about 11 different decisions in the first seven seconds of contact. So, first impressions are critical! The biggest mistake that I see businesses make is the careless approach to these vital first several seconds. Sometimes, it's an indifferent greeting (over the phone or in-person). Other times, it's parking lot trash, a group of employees out front smoking, or smudged entry doors. By managing first impressions, businesses can differentiate themselves from all the indifferent businesses.
10. Stand Up and Be Counted
Anytime you have an opportunity to dress professionally and stand up for your business, do it. You only have 2-7 seconds to make a great first impression. If your business is one that dresses down, don't do it when you're networking. Even putting on a jacket (with jeans) will help you appear more professional. And even if NO ONE else has stood up at a networking event to introduce themselves -- do stand up and be counted as one of the professionals in the room!
11. Is There Spinach in my Teeth?
This is a question you should always ask before meeting someone for the first time. While you're at it, check your clothes for neatness, appropriateness and cleanliness.
Make sure you make eye contact. That doesn't mean stare them down.
Have 3 questions ready to ask them about themselves and/or their business.
Use verbal and non-verbal when they are talking; nodding is always good.
You only get a few seconds to make a good first impression, so be prepared!
12. It's Simple...Smile
When you smile at people, what do they do? They smile back. Smiling shows confidence, sincerity, and approachability. And it doesn't cost a thing.
13. Confidence is Contagious
Having a warm smile and sincere "hello" is always good...BUT having a warm smile, sincere "hello" AND an exuding confidence is even better 🙂 Confidence is contagious. When you meet people and they sense your positive vibe and energy, that makes a major impact on first impressions.
People can tell who's confident and who isn't...So always make sure your Confidence is intact when you're out meeting people.
Know who you are, trust what you can offer the world, and bank on it!!!!!
14. When in Doubt - Overdress
Always overdress if there is any question as to the proper attire. Better to be one of the best dressed in the room or at a meeting than to be one of the most casual. And dressing well makes you feel good and confident, a plus for any meeting. Of course, being early is always wise, as well!
15. Beautiful Downtown Omaha
When I prospect for business I want to create, within the first 15 seconds, I have a reason to have a conversation. I start by saying "Hi, this is Andy Greenberg from beautiful downtown Omaha Nebraska. I am calling to..."
When I say beautiful Downtown Omaha...there is always a reply. Warren Buffett? College World Series? It's cold there! Why do live there?
The impression this leaves the businessman with is that I am just like them and a nice guy to talk to!
16. Visual Aid
If you know in advance who you are meeting with or who's interviewing you, Google that person. Look them up on LinkedIn or Facebook. Try and find an image of the individual with whom you will be meeting. By seeing that person beforehand, you will immediately feel more at ease on the day of the interview or meeting. It's sort of like online dating, but in this case, the stakes are slightly higher.
17. Say it, Do it
Always perform or provide your service in a spirit of excellence and integrity. If your marketing says that you perform the best, then always be ready to do so. If your marquee says that you perform timely, then do so. If you agree to provide a service, then provide what you have agreed to. Be able to clearly say what you do, and then "DO" what you Say, within the parameters you have set. Customers love getting more than what they expected.
18. You Only Get One Chance
As simple as this may sound, SPELL & GRAMMAR CHECK anything you send out - any promotional materials, pitch letters/emails, business cards, etc. - & blog posts, too. Nothing makes a bad first impression like misspellings & typos - be sure to check subject lines, too! If someone doesn't take the time to spell check those, I'm not likely to open the email - neither are journalists or business prospects. If you don't know how to spell, find someone who does & enlist their help. This is a big deal!
19. Let's Get Physical!
Trade show first impressions: Make sure you are not behind a table, but at the edge of the booth, into the aisle. Your goal is to talk to everyone. Don't cherry pick the crowd; you don't know where that next golden goose is coming from. Smile! Add something physical to hand out that is clever, useful and tells YOUR STORY. Promotional products can touch all five senses: taste, touch, smell, sight, and hearing. Mix it up! Have your introduction email written to send b4 you go to the show.
20. Use Temperament to Prepare
Before your meeting/interview/social gathering, learn the temperament of your host(s) or their organization (e.g., a bank is typically an Earth; Apple is a Fire; Disney is a Water; etc.). Prepare yourself with temperament-appropriate anecdotes and stories to make a great first impression.
21. Get Touchy and Personal
People are busy and information, connections and opportunities are coming at business owners at a mile a minute. To make a fabulous first impression, do your research and know about the person you want to impress. Follow up creatively MULTIPLE times, in multiple mediums, making sure not to leave out getting something in the mail. My favorite is to send a book that relates, along with a personal note that indicates the next steps you want to take.
22. Go Fishing
The best way to make a great impression is to 'fish'. Basically, keep the other person talking; ask interesting open-ended questions that help you learn about that person. They will think you are the most interesting person they have ever met. And they will have done all of the talking. Practice asking good questions. Dig a bit. This works for business, social events, making sales calls, or meeting your future in-laws. Simply ask good questions and become a great listener!
23. How to Easily Stand Out
When people ask you what you do, don't say *what* you are (ex.: "I'm a coach").
Say who you are, who you work with, and what you help them with. Like, "Hi, my name is Angela Treat Lyon; I help women entrepreneurs and coaches get high-paying clients."
When the other person has introduced himself, then ask, "What is it you need or want this week, and how might I help you?" NO one asks that, and it will help you stand out above and beyond everyone else. It works - try it.
24. Reach Out and Touch Someone
Touch increases tips, causes people to shop longer and affects your first impression. If you don’t have control of how you touch or shake hands, you could come across as nervous or out of control. A good handshake will make someone feel appreciated and connected to you. A bad handshake will set you back an hour in rapport building. Make sure you do it right. Every handshake you give should be different. Learn to mirror their handshake and customize it to the person, culture & situation.
25. Shocking Engagement
Effective engagement leaves a positive and lasting impression. Instead of leading with your product/what you do/elevator pitch, have a colorful, yet thought provoking line or question. One consultant states "I'm a ship burner" plumber, "We're your NO Butt Crack Plumber" and I've often used "We turn on Executives". Each of these causes others to ask "What?" which is exactly what you want. They cause humorous and effective conversations that are remembered. Now, you can have a meaningful conversation.
26. California Cool is Not Hot!
You reveal a lot about yourself in the first three seconds of meeting someone, so dress for success! Men: Be clean shaven and wear a shirt and tie. (No, it's not outdated.) Women: Dress for work, not a cocktail party. Unless you are a rock star, it's not okay to look grungy or overtly sexy if you are serious about getting ahead in business.
Until you get to know someone, don't automatically assume it's okay to use their first name, even if you are from anything-goes California.
27. Come Prepared
Chance favors the prepared mind. Don't just show up and see 'how it goes'.
Do your homework on the person you are meeting, prepare an agenda, figure out what you are looking to achieve from this meeting, and how you can help the person you are meeting with their projects (this is where the homework comes handy).
As an expat, know the basic greetings in that person's language and even more important, know and understand their business culture.
28. Acknowledge with a Note
You meet someone. Connect with them again by writing a handwritten note with your contact card included. There is no question that you will stand out in his mind.
29. Homework is Impressive
In my experience, when it comes to making a good first impression in business, nothing beats having knowledge of who it is that you're trying to impress. I'm talking about deep knowledge, not just names and titles. In our digital culture where information is abundant and "always on", you are mere clicks away from almost encyclopedic knowledge of people, companies and technologies. Doing your homework to show the customer or prospect that you truly care will move you to the head of the class.
I have always found, in business development, that passion is the number one factor in making a good first impression. You can promise excellent service, great pricing, and flawless products, but none of that will be believed in your first meeting... unless you believe passionately in it yourself. Customers (people) know how you really feel about your product or service right away... you can't hide it. Learn what makes you different than the other companies in your space - and show your passion.
31. How Do You DO That?
You're standing in a networking meeting with people you don't know and a brave soul walks up to meet you. What you do next affects whether or not this person remembers you, let alone wants to do business with you in the future. You shake their hand, look them in the eyes and say, "Hi, my name is..." Now surprise them. After they tell you their name, ask them what they do. Then just listen. Continue to ask them questions; don't tell them what YOU do. They'll quickly learn to like and trust you.
32. Research, Research, Research
Know anything and everything you can about someone. Then find out where they will be. Show up and casually start talking. For example, if you see your business prospect in a hotel lobby, just sit down next to them and let the small talk run. Lightly sprinkle in your research and pump up that ego. They will react with questions and interest- exactly what you want! It takes a lot of research to be in the right place at the right time, with the right things to say.
33. It's All About SHOWING UP
SHOWING UP to me is like a treasure map, you never know what treasure you will find. And the POWER is in the ASKING...
To start, we must do some homework first. When we are to SHOW UP somewhere, we need to know what it is we hope to find when we SHOW UP, and WHO is showing up where we are going. Also, we need to know what is it we really want and need, and who can help us find that. The key is to know it's not WIFM, it's about how we can help others. Then, we need to share info and start asking for what we want.
34. Be Present
Since this is your only chance to make a first impression, be 100% in the moment. My medical doctor had a thriving practice. He was one of the most sought after physicians in the area. When you were in with him, he made you feel as if you were the only person he had to see that day. You felt as if his entire attention was on you and nothing else mattered. You never felt rushed. This is the first and lasting impression that you want to create. I am here for you.
Mitch Carnell of SPWC
35. Give 'Em What They LOVE!
Find out a preference, interest, passion, or need your client has, and give them some small item related to it...
A new client once was complaining about the mess her paper shredder always made. I gave her a special rubber stamp to use instead, so she can just stamp out sensitive information. No muss, no fuss!
36. Planting Warm Fuzzies!
Mom and Dad raised us kids on a farm where, among many things, we were taught the principle of sowing and reaping. Once I left the farm, I kept this awesome principle in mind, as I made it my mission to plant little seeds of encouragement, seeds of happiness, seeds of success, and seeds of a positive attitude into the lives of those I encountered. I have handed out thousands of brightly colored little pom-poms (I call them 'warm fuzzies') and people just love them.
37. Make a Great First Impression!
First impressions are made in 7 - 10 seconds, and can be exclusively Visual until a person gets to know you. Making a Great First Impression is not an accident, but the result of planning and intentional action. Know your best colors and what looks good on you; incorporate your personality in accents and accessories, and then refuse to hide in the background. Let the True You shine through and you'll make a Great First Impression - refuse to be a cookie cutter - be Yourself!
38. Get a Manicure
Hands and teeth are the first things that get noticed. Non-verbals make subconscious impressions whether we like it or not. Chewed up, unkempt nails and cuticles do not make for a polished, put together impression.
39. Getting YOU Noticed!
In today's busy world, more than ever, first impressions DO count. To me, the best first impression is knowledge. We live in the information generation where everything is available online. There is no excuse for coming to a meeting unprepared. If you do not take 15 minutes to get yourself "up to speed" with the contact or company you are meeting with... postpone the meeting... don't waste their time and your first impression.
40. How Do I Show Up?
Want to make a good 1st impression? Ask, "How do I show up?" to your group of trusted advisors. If you don't have a group, get one!
Ask them for 1 word that describes you. Is this the same as the 1 word you use to describe yourself? Does that suit your desired first impression?
Your 1st impression goes beyond the suit to how you show up. It takes a minute to make this impression & a lifetime to change it.
So, how do you show up?
41. Be Authentically YOU!
When I show up fully present, being the joyful magic of who I truly am and asking 'what contribution can I be here?', people always comment on my presence and ask me about my high energy and creative approach! It's memorable, because so few people show up like that!
42. Be There at Punctual O'Clock
Be prompt, if not early- always. You can look sharp and sound professional, but if you can't make it on time, nothing else matters. It sounds easy, but it's far too often the most overlooked detail.
43. Everyone Knows Your Name!
The most beautiful word in the English language to everyone is hearing their own name! I always learn as much as possible about anyone I know that I will meet so that I can use their name in relation to the people, place or things that are important to them. You must use a person's name with sincerity and pronounce it correctly! PLEASE take the time to learn how to say it right. You'll make a great first impression if you are genuinely interested.
44. Golden Voices, Golden Choices
In today's competitive global business world, you often can't get your foot in the door without getting your voice in first. Your "vocal image" on the phone and in person can make or break your career opportunities. Golden tones make a dramatic first impression. If your voice is confident, clear and concise, you will be perceived as such.
You can't separate your voice from the rest of your body, so breathe deeply, stay hydrated and smile! Your golden voice may open up a world of choice.
45. Know Before You Go
Conducting just a little research about the person or people you will meet will prepare you to be immediately impressive, talk intelligently and avoid faux pas. With all of the electronic avenues we have, there is really no excuse to not find out something about people, their business, their involvement in organizations and their interests before you go.
46. A Creative First Impression!
Your clients are hit with far too many marketing messages. To combat this, I use a new service called “AudioGenerator”. It allows me to send unlimited e-mail "audio postcards" to my prospects. This affordable tool permits me to creatively reach out to customers right from my computer at any time. The cost is less than $1.00 per day. You can send yourself a free audio postcard immediately or kick the tires with a free trial. http://members.audiogenerator.com/specialinfo.asp?x=786599
47. Be There, Completely Present
It's important to be present in all dimensions - physically, mentally, and emotionally when you first meet. We often try to multi-task when we should single thread.
When expecting a call, blank your screen or shut off the PC. Focus on the caller when you answer.
When meeting in person, turn off your ringer, or turn off the phone entirely. Vibrating phones are a mental distraction.
First impressions are hard to overwrite. They can be formed in just 8 seconds. Be there live, not Memorex.
48. Tell, Don't Sell
Help your audience by TELLING or better yet, SHOWING them something impactful that will really make a difference in their lives and/or business. Today, there is no shortage of 'experts' (as evidenced by this blog), but the ones who rise to the top are those who put the customer first, not their product or service. Consumers are tired of being 'sold to', so set yourself apart by telling, not selling your message to position yourself as an expert in the eyes of your market.
49. First Impressions?
It really depends on whether you know who you are going to meet, or if this is just a random or networking meeting. If it's the first, do your homework and find out what they and the company are all about. Then, look and act the part for that meeting. If it's a networking function, then be you. Dress well, but according to your personality and profession, since that's what they're buying. You can never go wrong with a smile, a firm handshake and a positive attitude.
50. Your Shoes = Your Credibility
Want to make a mint? Keep your footwear in mint condition! In business (or socializing) folks make their decision about you in 7 seconds! Make sure your shoes reflect who you are and your credibility. If your shoes aren't well maintained, clients may question whether you pay attention to other details. Shoes should be appropriate, polished, not run down and never out of shape for the business environment. They are often the first thing your client (and most women) notice.
51. Networking Expert's Secret Tip
Find out in advance something about which your new business contact is very, very proud and ask him/her to tell you about it...then LISTEN ATTENTIVELY and send a hand-written note thanking them for sharing their personal story or accomplishment with you.
It's all about doing your homework, asking good questions, listening, staying engaged and following up, if appropriate.
52. Be Prepared!
Being well prepared to talk about your company, product and especially the competition is very important when meeting potential clients for the first time. There is nothing more embarrassing than not doing your homework. Before meeting with a potential store, I try to find out as much as I can about their products, customers and location.
53. What Drives Their Business
In the first several minutes of meeting a new business associate/potential prospect, spend about 80% of the time illustrating an understanding of the key drivers of their business. To assure that the flow of the dialog is conversational and natural - couch it in a current event that is relevant to their company/industry. The other 20% is spent speaking about you/your business after they ask you - because now they believe you may add value to them.
54. Be a Real Passionate Pro
My ONE best tip on how to make a great first impression in your business is to be a genuinely passionate professional in the scope of being yourself. You are the best "professional you" in the entire world, so be it well, as you convey your enthusiasm about your business. This causes people to become excited about your enterprise and products and it sends a believable message to them that you are qualified in your area of expertise. The first impression is the only impression, so make it count!
55. You Can Quote Me on That!
You may look the part when it comes to making a good impression in a business setting. But, if you don't sound the part, you may not get the part...or the job. (Milo Frank's classic, "The 30-Second Sell," says you have less than a minute to make a good first impression.) Here's a tip: Memorize several business quotes and apply them to virtually any situation or question. To illustrate, "Speed, simplicity, self-confidence"--the Jack Welch mantra--will fit a wide array of situations.
Thanks to: Marlene Caroselli.
56. Look the part
If you want to make a good first impression in a business setting, look like you fell out of Brooks Brothers front window.
57. A.I.M. High!
A.I.M. High to Make a Great First Impression.
APPROACHABLE – Appearance is polished; appear open, friendly and positive; be authentic, project confidence, and mind your manners.
INTENTIONAL - Be the first to introduce yourself, offer a confident handshake, remember the person’s name, relate with ease and balance listening and talking.
MEMORABLE - Exit on a positive note, say good-bye to individuals you would like to reconnect with, and follow up via phone, a note or e-mail.
58. Know What You Do
I think one of the biggest challenges solopreneurs make that directly relates to a poor first impression is that they don't know how to tell people what they do in a brief, easy to understand way. To really make a good first impression, learn how to confidently tell others who you are and what you do. And keep it simple....I am a [blank - your business] that works with/helps/teaches [blank - target market] how to [blank - identify challenges] so that they can [blank - results]. Practice often.
59. Have You Done Your Homework?
Just because you are out of school doesn't mean you are done doing homework. Whether you are applying for a job or going to a meeting where you know you will interact with someone in particular who could be of benefit to you, bone up on them, if possible, and their company for sure. Being able to ask questions relevant to their operations, instead of engaging in general chit-chat (e.g. Hi, how's business?) will get their attention and give the impression there's more to you than meets the eye.
60. Business Building Secret
Whenever you are engaged in a business building conversation, always set a clear and focused next step appointment by the end of the call and then, make sure you are on time for that next appointment and every follow up activity thereafter.
61. ALWAYS Be on Time!!!
Establishing a practice of ALWAYS being on time seems like common sense to most professionals, but unfortunately, it is not embraced by everyone. We have all heard the excuses-caught in traffic, last meeting ran late, had to take a critical call, etc. Besides being a common courtesy, showing up on time shows respect for the other individual and confirms a sense of reliability. While there are additional attributes that a “trusted advisor” should embody, this is one of the starting points.
62. Those First 8 Seconds
Jeffrey Hayzlett's brilliant book "The Mirror Test" says that you have 8 seconds to capture someone's attention. Here's advice for those Golden Seconds: Ask a question that 1) sparks their imagination and 2) showcases your biggest benefit. Here's an example: "How would you like to learn who your prospects are, why they buy, and how to attract them... in 21 minutes or less?" That covers the prospect's mindset, your marketing plan, and sales tactics. What's your 8 second masterpiece?
63. Looks Do Matter!
As you never get a second chance to make a first impression, best to get it right the first time. These days, it's all about your company brand. The nice thing is that on the internet, you can compete with the likes of Coke and Nike! Make that website look like a million bucks. You'll be amazed at how many major corporate websites are poorly designed. But don't stop there. Every communication from your company should look and sound like a million bucks. Yes, looks do matter, Grasshopper!
64. May the Force Be with You
Great first impressions rely on: CONFIDENCE and RESPECT. With confidence, you exude a quality that attracts people to you. Take that attraction and treat everyone with respect. You'll see that people will respond to you as if the force is with you.
65. It's All in the details...
Here are a few simple, but often overlooked, details:
Know a little about your prospect's business and their industry. Also, have somewhat of an idea what his/her "pain points" are. Without knowing this, or at least anticipating what they might be, you will have no way of knowing if your solution is going to help.
BOTTOM LINE: Your preparation must answer this question from the prospect's perspective: "What's in it for me?"
If you can't answer that, buh-bye! Details people!
66. Smile and Mean it
Smile and say "I'm doing Great" (with enthusiasm) when they say "How are you today?" Keep it simple - smile (a real authentic one- not fake).
67. Books and Covers
You know the old adage - it's what's in the book that matters, not the cover. Perhaps, but if the cover isn't appealing, the book will go unread.
In business, that "cover" is often made first through your marketing materials. So, make sure that your "cover" materials feature something personal about your values in business, as well as a testimonial from a truly happy client.
Don't you want to read the books that come highly recommended? Make your "cover" your best first impression!!
68. Rely on Human Nature
People naturally like to talk about themselves. In any business encounter, it pays to ask your acquaintance something about them. Ask them what caused them to get into the business they are in. Ask them what has made them successful. You might even do a little pre-reading on the individual, if you know who you will be meeting with. A good, well directed question for a new business connection to answer will actually leave them feeling better about wanting to know more about you.
69. The Persuasion of Symmetry
A good first impression in business is not to make an impression. Especially in today's world of business positioning where anyone can look like a "big deal" with glitzy graphics and sophisticated communications, it's a far better impact strategy to answer what the business contact is trying to "solve". A first impression is not about impressing, but solving a problem or articulating a strategy that hasn't been asked. Figure out what a business needs and lead with that. Join, don't approach.
70. Ears are Your Best Tool
My grandfather once told me that every man was considered wise - until he opened his mouth. The best first impression that I can make with a new client is to listen carefully. I take time to consider what the client is asking before I speak out. I practice careful questioning; listening for both the content and emotion in the answer given.
71. Be Original
Be the only one you can be and that is you. When you try to be someone else and do what others do, it causes a conflict in your way of life. Other people see that you are not genuine before you do. After you read this, you now have a second chance to make a first impression.
72. Mother & Apple Pie Get Appts
Here’s the process:
1. Make sure you have a qualified prospect.
2. Get your mother to bake tasty apple pies.
3. Deliver a warm pie to the prospect’s reception area.
4. Message on business card: “Dear Mr. Smith. Our clients get a bigger piece of the pie. I’ll call tomorrow to arrange a meeting to discuss how. In the mean time, please enjoy the pie. My mother baked it.
When I call the next day, my success rate in getting appointments is almost 100%.
73. Own the Introduction
Completely batten down the first minutes of any anxiety situation, for this is where perceptions are formed. Rehearse and visualize a super-smooth entrance and introduction to help reduce physical signs of over-stimulation. Also, check your physical responses as if you were a scientist: "Ah, my breathing has increased because I’m nervous. It will return to normal in a moment." This will help you detach, keep from being overwhelmed and put physiological responses in their rational context.
74. Make an Emotional Imprint
My suggestion is simple and intuitive: Pay close attention to the other person. Be fiercely curious about who they are, what they do, how they work and what they need. If you pay attention to them, they will pay attention to you. This type of first impression goes beyond your resume of accomplishments or what you want to sell them, which they will readily forget. This type of first impression makes an emotional imprint... one that they won't forget. They'll like you and trust you.
75. It's All About You
You are the first impression in your business! What people see is what people hope they get, and in business, a client or customer may initially be attracted to your website or your marketing materials. But, the key is the face-to-face: meet your clients, be personal, and connect! No need to sell your "spiel" - be you. Depending on your business, a client wants to know she can work with you, trust you, and believe in you and your product/services.
76. Read Between the Numbers!
Read a company's financial reports. They're really full of great info on the business, where the company is heading, where they're located, acquisitions, challenges and more. Lots of great conversation starters are in between all of the numbers!
77. Actions Speak Best
We only get one shot at a first impression, which makes the first impression possibly the most important one. Listen carefully, so you know what challenge your customer needs resolved. Be humble. Be respectful. And make sure you deliver whatever you promise the customer you will deliver.
78. Stroke 'Em Before you Poke 'Em
Nothing is more effective in business or pleasure than to start your encounter by finding something complimentary to say to the person you are dealing with. Take time to notice the detail of their suit or the style of their hair, the tone of their voice or how brilliant their business concept is - anything to let them see that you are focused on them, instead of just looking for an opening to bust in with your agenda.
79. Information is Power
A great tip is to find an article that shows you are tuned into that person's interests. So, it is not as pushy as a gift, but thoughtful enough to pull out during a conversation or at the end, as a parting gift. It says: I've done my homework, I care about you and your interests, information is power, and there is more where that came from.
Thanks to: Lorraine Justice.
80. Knowing is Believing
Want to make a great first impression in business? My first and best piece of advice is to do some very detailed business intelligence. Know something relevant about the person you are meeting. Use Gist or some other platform to know what they are saying online and what issues are relevant to them. If you can make meaningful connections in your conversation with topics that are of immediate interest to that person, the connection itself is stronger.
81. Know Your Audience
Learn something about the person you are meeting, and not just the company headlines. These days, the internet makes it easier, but by searching about the person you may find an interesting prior job they had, a hobby, something in common, their alma matter, or friends in common, who knows. But, overall, it will show that you took the time to research and that you care. Caring generally invites reciprocity.
82. First Impression
For a great first interview impression, know yourself, look amazing in a simple outfit and add value with your history of past performances/positions you've held. With this in mind, the interviewer will see how successful you were in your other company and how you could be an asset to their company.
83. Casual Tips
Throw some free tips out there during your conversation. Not just any tips either, ones that are specific to who you are talking to. If it is a formal, scheduled meeting, do your homework ahead of time. If it is making an acquaintance at a cocktail party, listen to the other person (people) speak and throw some free advice their way. It is a casual way to have them garner interest in you, without formally trying to "sell them".
84. Use Your Calling Card!
The reaction I get when I pass on a business card has been the same every time I share one... WOW! That first impression is priceless! Once they get over the uniqueness of my business card, I have their full attention and can make my pitch! Never underestimate the impression you can make with your print media, it's your drawing card!
85. Bookend the Appointment
I bookend the appointment – on the front end, I always Google the person I’m going to meet, trying to find a common ground and something I respect about him or her. I find that people really appreciate you caring enough to do your homework. On the back end, often I will send them a book or a small token I think they will appreciate, along with a personal thank you note that shows I listened.
86. Best First Impression
I recently stayed at a hotel for business. When I got home, I had a survey to fill out about my stay. What made the impression so great is that I received a personal email from the hotel manger thanking me for staying at the hotel and they would love to have me back again. This really made an impression. A business saying Thank You for your purchase or service makes a big difference if I will come back.
87. Get to Know Them
Before you enter the room to meet someone the first time, do a little research about them and find out what they care about or what they think is important. Try to reference this information in order to let them know that you care about them as an individual. By linking what they care about to the product or service you provide, it creates a win-win situation.
88. The 3 P's
I practice the "3 P's" to make a great first impression: be Prompt, Personable, & Prepared.
Prompt: I always get to a meeting early or at the scheduled time.
Personable: I truly enjoy meeting new people and naturally project a friendly persona. Often a personal connection develops with feelings of mutual friendship, appreciation and respect.
Prepared: Thoroughly knowing my subject material, I present a targeted message and share the value of our service to others.
89. Counter-intuitive Brilliance
I have a unique way of getting prospects to listen to my pitch on a cold call sales call. I walk in with a big smile on my face and proclaim that I am fly by night salesman with a fly by night company here to rip you off any way that I can. They invariably bust out laughing with their normal sales resistance melted away. I walk out with an order on the first call.
90. A Little Bling Does the Thing
My company, Courtesy Bootcamp, is all about positive impressions. However, in a sea of attention-grabbing devices, you have to make yourself that much more noticeable and notable. To make sure I stand out in a crowded networking event, I added stick-on pink rhinestones to my name-tag, and have found that that little bit of sparkle actually stops people in their tracks. They will almost always comment on the "bling", which then opens up the door to conversation about our respective businesses.
91. Be Noticed in a GOOD Way
Smile, have a strong handshake and say the name of the person you are being introduced to twice in the first minute. This way, you will remember it and everyone likes to hear their name being said. Then, if you have a good sense of humor, you may tell a great joke, a great quip or even a great story on how someone made a great accomplishment. Always be positive--and limit your exposure to negativity.
92. Do Your Homework
...Because it shows that you care. There is nothing more appealing to a person than to know that somebody has shown interest and is aware about the person and her business. This way, your discussion will also become more relevant and operate at a higher level - looking at issues rather than data. Further, you will also keep your introduction focused and highlight relevant points. Remember, you are only as impressive as how much the other person thinks you are! So focus on the person, not on you!
93. The Body Tells the Truth
Make sure you're only saying internally, in your mind, positive things about the person you're meeting. Ask yourself, "How can I help this person achieve their goals? How can I benefit them and provide value for them.” When we have positive thoughts about someone, slight physical changes occur, eyes dilate, nostrils flare, blood flows to the cheeks, and lips get fuller. At the subconscious level, people will sense your intentions; it's either going to be positive or negative, rarely in-between.
94. Respect Yourself
Demonstrate respect for yourself and others in the way you dress. People will notice and respond positively to you.
Dressing well -- not expensively -- is the best way to make a solid first impression. People notice if your clothes fit, are neat, clean and pressed. They notice if your shoes are shined.
Respect yourself and others in your dress.
95. Be a Pro and They Will Know
With the desire to impress as many people as possible, we might wonder what to convey to first acquaintances. Sincerity? Strength? Trust? But there’s a quality that encompasses these and many other positive elements all at once: PROFESSIONALISM. Being professional dissolves the majority of reservations in others about a business and it imbues greatness! Such first-time experiences with people (personally, with your website, in the workplace, etc.) make the best first impressions ever possible.
96. 5 Seconds is All it Takes...
Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick. You have just made an impression. Is it good or bad? People DO form an initial opinion of you in 5 seconds. There are three things that greatly improve the impression you make- your posture, how you enter a room and if you're dressed appropriately. Combine good eye contact, a firm (not bone crushing) handshake, and a strong introduction and you have all of the ingredients for a lasting impression. The clock is ticking...
97. Immediate Follow Up Email
I think the best way to make a first business impression is to send an immediate email after the first vocal (phone or face to face) meeting. The email content should contain a "pleasure to meet you or talk to you", a brief re-cap of things that were discussed, a statement regarding looking forward to working together, and an invitation to contact any time with questions and all contact information.
98. Name Tag on Right Side
If at a mixer, wear name tag on your right side so that when you shake hands, the other person’s eye will follow your arm up to the name tag and then to your face. This helps them associate your face with your name. The tag should have both your first and last name, with the first in large letters.
99. No Shoes No Shirt: BIG Problem
Yes, the Hawaiian shirt & sandals have been the media gifted dress-code for entrepreneurs, but please don't show up for a meeting in those! At least put on a sport-jacket, if not a suit. Ladies, covered legs & feet look so much better.
Also, be on time or be 5 minutes early. No one likes to wait or listen to stupid excuses! Don't give your sales pitch as if you're throwing up... Breathe, ask questions, & let others talk too... Most importantly, be YOUrself; don't pretend to be someone else!
100. Grounded or Feet First?
"We make our mind up about someone within the first 30 seconds of meeting them" Dr Frank Bernieri @ Toledo University.
In order to capture these vital 30 seconds and give the best first impression you can, ensure both of your feet are on the ground, your head is held high and relax. This creates an impression for the other person/people that you are stable, capable, confident and at ease with yourself and the rest of the world, just the sort of person people do business with.
101. Clown Around with Them
Everyone wants to laugh more, but sometimes adults need an invitation to play. When I meet someone, I hand them a red clown nose. I then proceed to teach them how to use it for their well-being. I tell them to put it on whenever they are stressed or angry, because you cannot remain mad with a clown nose on. Use it when stuck in traffic or running late. Put one on when on the phone with a cranky person. By sharing a laugh together and giving them useful tools, I become "memorable".
102. Talk About Yourself- A Little
When it comes to making great first impressions many people are aware of the need to ask lots of questions, listen carefully and pay attention; but how many people are aware of the importance of being able to confidently talk about themselves? While placing the other party at the center of the conversation is important, you do need to be able to present yourself in a compelling manner. Perfect your elevator pitch in advance of a meeting or social event and don't be afraid to sell yourself.
103. Timing is Everything!
Never forget "It's Showtime!" Think about how you want them to remember you and bring all of your style, sound-bites, energy and content with you. Prepare, prepare, prepare in advance and know what you're going say, just don't write a script. Think more along the lines of bullet points. Know what problem you solve, play easy to get and be ready for anything.
104. Do Your Research Up Front
Does it matter how you look or the grip of your first handshake?
Of course it does, but I've found the most powerful way to win a new client is to have done my research on them before the meeting!
Research both the company and the person you're meeting with. Read the latest press releases and/or the company's annual report. Make notes about key discussion points.
When you have that first meeting, scan the walls and what's on the client's desk, and comment as required.
105. Mental Business Engineering
Create an internal picture that these people like me and want to do business with me. Then, step in it and live it!
106. Undermine Your Maslow
When you're at a networking event or a conference, get to know other people first before you talk about yourself. Be more interested in what they have to say than what you have to say. Ask questions about their businesses, and what's most important to them. Your first impression will take Maslow out at the knees and create the foundation to build a lasting business relationship.
107. Remember, it's Just Business
How do you make a great first impression in business? Life is instant these days, so you have to impress in the first 30 seconds. One job I had, I told my future bosses that I would fly in to meet them. That put them on the spot, but they had a position to fill more than anything. You have to create the excitement that you're the best candidate for the job. It's pressure on you, but more on them. Use your resources to stand out in the crowd. Remember, it's just business.
108. Get Your Hair Done!
Go to a professional for a color and cut that suits you and makes a statement about who you are. We see hair first...before eye contact, the handshake, or the 10 second introduction.
Women: Put on some makeup.
Men: Shave, trim your beard, eyebrows, nose and ear hairs!
109. Impress with Your Audio Logo
I use an audio logo to let the other person know who I work with, and how I help them. For example, “You know how CFOs sometimes give overly technical presentations to their key stakeholders? Well, I help them fix this.” I look to see if this interests the other person or if they might have a connection to a potential contact. If they do, our conversation progresses. If not, I ask them who I could connect them with and then move on. Both parties win and don't waste precious networking time.
110. Color Can Make or Break You
Interior designers and ad execs know colors evoke distinct emotions. This concept can be applied to attire. Red incites conflict and competition; wear it with caution. If you want to stand out without creating arguments, purple is a good alternative, as it evokes respect and loyalty. Blue is soothing, so wear it in stressful situations. Black makes you seem aloof and judgmental, while gray and brown make you appear friendly. Color sets the tone for the meeting, so choose wisely!
111. Research to Impress!
Before speaking to a prospective client or vendor, make sure you do your research about their industry and company background. This shows the client that you are serious about providing them your services or products. Try to research the challenges that their industry faces, so you can impress them with some useful advice to overcome those challenges.
By educating yourself about the others' needs, you will be better equipped to make an excellent first impression.
112. Create your Online Presence
Keeping your "online" appeal up-to-date is important today, since your first impression may be on the internet. Whether via your website or your LinkedIn profile, make sure that you or your brand are portrayed professionally. Your website should be appealing and up-to-date. If you don't have a web presence, create one. May people may search for information about you or your company, so make sure you have positive things to show.
113. Say Their Name!
After first meeting someone, immediately say their name (e.g., "Nice to meet you, Robert."). This helps you recall their name, plus people love hearing their name! DO NOT use nicknames. If someone introduces himself as "Robert", that does not give you permission to call the person "Rob." People are sensitive about their names & using nicknames they may dislike could permanently damage your first impression. Robert is Robert unless he says otherwise!
114. Create Instant Credibility...
Make a great first impression by providing a referral or introduction to a resource!
When first meeting someone, introduce yourself and then listen carefully to what their needs might be. Don’t be shy about asking how you can help or what services or individuals they would value being introduced to. If there’s a resource or a connection you could recommend, tell them about it and why you think it’s a good fit for them. Then offer to make the introduction and make sure to follow up too.
115. Appear Immaculate
Perfection supports your integrity, whereas chaos or indifference distracts your partner away from you.
Like a perfect spa experience where all of your senses are in tune and a gently flowing energy is soothing and guiding you, external wellness nourishes internal wellness for you and your business partner.
Patrick Van de Coevering of Spa 101
116. Never Come Empty-handed
Research whom you are meeting and then present the gift as a gesture of good business. This doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be thoughtful and unique. Be sure to be authentic when you present your token and shy away from over praising your host/guest. Simply say, “A token for our success together.” Having done business all over the world and now living in Japan, this gesture has always been the best received.
117. Answer the @#&% Phone!
If your customers call in for their first contact... answer the $%*# Phone! There is nothing more frustrating than being excited about a product and then not being able to talk with a person. And no, your menu has NOT CHANGED. Just Answer! Then, when you do, try to sound a little excited that I called. No more “you-are-inconveniencing-me 'Hellos'!” Come on, do you want my business or not? Now, there are times when you can't answer. Understood. Just call me back sooner, rather than later.
118. To Your Prospect be True
I was in the heat of a stellar presentation halfway around the world. The audience was in my grasp and I could smell the fresh ink on the contract! Suddenly, the chairman of the board from the prospect company stopped me mid-sentence.
"When did you work for our company?" he asked with a dead-pan expression on his face. "You know my company better than I do!" he continued.
The best first impressions in business are the result of strong preparation. Show them you care; know who they are!
119. It Starts Before You Meet
Your first impression starts before the first meeting. Your advertising, collateral, storefront and company reputation speak volumes about you. Whether you're selling products, services or ideas – your first face to face is critical. Your business attire, whether a suit, uniform or neatly pressed shirt and trousers, reflects what you think about yourself and your company. Make sure it’s clean and crisp. Then, make direct eye contact, smile and most important of all, listen to the customer.
120. The Obvious is Not So Obvious!
Self-esteem is the obvious catalyst to make an extraordinary first impression. When you feel good about yourself, you'll radiate the qualities, such as likability and trustworthiness, which will make you unique and interesting. You'll take better care of yourself. This will help you look and act the part of a successful person. Developing self-esteem is a lifetime learning process. Being open to new ideas and learning experiences will give you the tools to put your best foot forward.
121. First Impressions
Much of my business was built by networking, so making a great first impression is essential. Since light travels faster than sound, you're seen before you're heard. This is why your appearance plays a major role well before you speak. Always keep this in mind and think about what you will say later. I am often on television programs and do my own videos as well. The way I dress for TV is important because often, this is the first experience many individuals have with me.
122. Making an Impression
Frequently, our first impression is done through email, instead of face to face. Thus, avoid being too relaxed in an email introduction. Initially, treat your email like a letter, giving your writing style a conversational tone. Have a greeting, a body and a closing, until you get more comfortable with the person. Avoid text message lingo like emotion-cons and abbreviations. All of this tells the person that you took a little more time to write and that they are worth it.
123. The Second Impression Counts
The best way to make a great first impression is to focus on the second impression. Almost all advice I've received regarding first impressions have been wrong. Why? Because it focused on me--what I should wear, how I should shake hands, what gimmick to use to make an "impact." The key to making a great first impression is to concentrate on the person you are meeting and focus on them--on their needs. Do this and you'll make a great first impression, and create an opportunity to make a second.
124. The Perfect First Impression
To make a perfect first impression, you can look up the person's favorite things you are trying to impress. Have a coffee just the way they like it on your first meeting, get them their favorite newspaper, the list can go on and on.
125. First Impressions!!
Arriving on time, or 10 minutes early, will be noted and appreciated. Smile!
Being confident keeps you focused. Being yourself is the key. Be your real self - not a fake. Smile!
When speaking, always look the person in the eyes. When you tell the truth, "there is nothing to remember." Smile!
Do your homework, learn about the other company, and you might be a great asset. Smile!
Remember, you never get a second chance to make a "First Impression."
Thanks to: Kathleen Wensel, Author/Speaker.
126. Preparation is the Key
Many businesses make the mistake of being in a hurry to get new clients and are not ready for them. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression and in business, there are very few second chances; so make sure you have your presentations, white papers, website and sales cycle worked out before you even try to contact potential new clients.
127. Shhh, Don't Talk. Listen.
The best way to make a great first impression is to listen. Get to know the person. Ask focused questions and then pay attention to the responses. You'll have plenty of time to talk and make your points, all in due time.
128. Smile, Shake, Ask!
Approach others to introduce yourself with a genuine smile, a firm handshake, and a quick one-line open-ended inquiry such as, "Tell me about your business."
Thanks to: Barb Iaquinto.
129. It's Not All About You
Meeting someone for the first time? Don't launch into a long story about your business or your life. Instead, get to know them a bit first. Ask them questions that show your sincere interest. Try to find common ground. When it's your turn, share your "elevator speech" about who you are and what you do. But, keep it brief and interesting. Remember, it's not all about you.
130. Color is Priceless
Color is a big factor in the way you are perceived. Successful colors are practical and appropriate for your occupation and location and make you look healthy and vibrant. Find your flattering colors. Remember, you are unique.
131. Zip Your Lip
Whether you are a consultant, vendor or potential business partner, learn the art of not speaking for a great first impression. Leave the know-it-all, been-there, self-aggrandizing blather at home and instead, be an active listener. Set the stage with you as subject matter expert, ask the right probing questions in a conversational way, and then, stop talking. The best thing you can do during an initial conversation is leave a client saying, "That person understood me. That person really gets it!"
132. Be Genuine and Authentic
Be genuine and authentic if you want to make a great first impression, whether it's in-person, online or with your visuals/graphics. If you're using proper business manners and protocols, being yourself is the best way to make a great first impression. Others can sense when someone is putting on a "front". Allow your natural personality to shine through. People like to do business with other people, and research shows personality is often the deciding factor when they make a decision to buy.
133. How May I Serve You?
When meeting a business contact (or anyone) for the first time - put them first. Ask questions about them. Learn about them. Offer a free tip or helpful piece of information. Never ever make the contact about "me". It is always "them". Oh yes, and remember to smile.
134. The Great Impression
Meeting someone for the first time and touching is awkward. No wonder people can’t remember names post handshake. And it's worse if you're a typical bone-crusher or limp-fish with clammy palms. Positive first impressions are made by eye contact, speaking your name slow & clear & shaking hands with a firm gender neutral grasp. A proper handshake begins by extending your hand, fingers spread & thumb up at 12 o’clock. Slide your hand forward & let your fingers pass theirs for a palm to palm handshake.
135. It's All About You...
The first thing people see is you - not your credentials or your presentation. Look great, crisp and confident. Then, ensure your presentation matches your look.
They will be impressed!
136. A Favorite at First Glance
From unique visitor to prospect...what does it take to lure them in? You've got less than a minute! Make your website a favorite: professional, simple to navigate, free of misspellings and grammatical errors, attractive not flashy, communicates authentically what you do and how you help solve their problem, provides an easy means to keep in touch and invites visitors to enter an ongoing relationship with a free gift of value.
137. Yes, Your Looks Do Matter
If you're planning on making email campaigns a part of your marketing strategy, consider this: looks do matter. Cheap or plain looking emails that lack your logo, branding & formatting won’t do your business image any favors and will likely be ignored or trigger unsubscribe requests. Instead, make a good impression by ensuring the look & feel of your email layout is professional and simple to read. Using the supplied templates from email marketing providers can help you accomplish this goal.
Do you know another tip that wasn’t included? If you do, please share it below. And as always, many thanks to DELL and everyone that contributed to this article! To learn more about the DELL Vostro V130, visit the Vostro Microsite and the