The first impression you make with a potential buyer can make or break a deal. We used to think that it took several seconds or minutes for this first impression to form, but recent research shows that it only takes fractions of a second. Once it’s made it is hard to overcome, and a negative one makes it difficult to close deals faster – the goal of all salespeople.
In the Wall Street Journal’s “The Mistakes You Make in a Meeting’s First Milliseconds,” the author acknowledges that certain visual cues are beyond a person’s control – such as the distance between the eye and the eyebrow. A wider distance is perceived by most as belonging to a more trustworthy person for some reason, and there is nothing you can really do about these genetic cues.
There are, however, many things you can control in order to make a better first impression. I shared a few of them in a piece reprinted in Forbes India. I will recap them here because they do make a difference if you want to close deals faster.
Do your research
If you research your buyer using social media, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, you will create a sense of familiarity which your prospective buyer will perceive. It’s a subtle thing, and it makes a difference. Your approach, your eye contact, and your smile will all be different if you know something about the person.
Notice I didn’t say “dress like a million bucks,” because it all depends on your buyer. If you are selling farm equipment, denim would be a better choice than a tailored suit. Again, if you research your buyer beforehand, your chances of making a good first impression improve dramatically, and you will close deals faster.
Smile and make direct eye contact
This comes with a caveat. Sure, approach with a smile and eye contact, but some buyers cannot confront someone who looks at them directly. They will turn their bodies slightly or look down at your nose or even chest. It’s almost as if they are speaking to someone else. Your tendency will be to move right in front of them again, but I recommend following their lead and mimicking their angles, weird as this might feel. If you want to close deals faster, it’s easier to build rapport this way.
Perfect your handshake
I never understand people who try to alter the tried and true, normal business handshake. I’ve had my fingers just about crushed a few times, and have likewise been thrown off by having just the tips of my fingers grasped weakly. A proper handshake is web to web, a couple of pumps up and down, and a mutual release.
Break the ice
Before you launch into selling, ask some open-ended questions about a mutual acquaintance or something about their business you’ve learned from your research. Don’t be too personal, and take the time to listen without interrupting. Everyone likes to be listened to and acknowledged. They will remember how you made them feel, even if they don’t remember what you talked about.
Remember, to close deals faster, work on making a better first impression! If you want to help your team learn these tips, why not contact Asher today?