First-Class First Impressions
We’ve heard it a million times: perception is reality. Do you believe it? Why? Why not?
Now, how about when it comes to customer service? If the service somewhere sucks, will you give it another shot? Whether you’re dining, purchasing, experiencing, planning, visiting or learning…your first impression likely determines your likelihood of giving whatever it is a second chance.
First impressions matter. Yes, in some cases, personally and professionally, others will give you another try if your first go-around tanks. But, given there are ample people and places available, most will move on to the next best thing. So, what are you doing to ensure you impress others immediately? What are you doing to make sure others remember you?
Even before answering that, ask yourself: Do I even know how others perceive me? There are many factors that play a role in the impression someone forms about who you are and how great you might be. A few of these include:
- Apparel – how do you dress?
- Nonverbals – what sort of body language and expressions do you communicate?
- Language/Tone – how do you deliver a message?
- Handshake – is it weak and insecure or strong and confident?
- Eye Contact – are you showing them you’re listening?
- Etiquette – are you minding your manners?
Now, when you’re a leader, a manager or a sales professional – the list goes on and on and on. And when you’re a business, the same rings true. Clients and customers depend on you – so, if you fail the first-impression test, you’re going to have a hard time making any money! Think of it this way…the more customers you get to love you, the more return customers you’ll accumulate automatically. The more customers you disappoint, the more new customers you’ll need to recruit. So, what’s the secret to making a successful first impression? Details.
All too often, we focus on the big things. The huge accomplishment we hope to fit into the conversation, so that the other person leaves thinking we’re a legend. The major life experience that makes us look like we’ve done it all, seen it all and know it all. The executive title that always seems to trump everyone else’s job description. I know that my tone and language makes you think you’d never succumb to such self-absorbed strategies. But, that’s the thing – most of us don’t know how hard we’re hoping to highlight our SELF. And this ignorance unfortunately causes us to ignore the other more than we ought.
The truth is that if you pay attention to the details, the other person (your report, your client or your customer) will leave impressed by many things instead of one major thing. And the reason this matters is because if you give them one thing to hold their hat on (when they think of you), you set yourself up to seriously disappoint them when that one thing doesn’t make it into their memory bank. Pay attention to the details, and leave them with dozens of reasons to be impressed.
For more on first impressions, check out TruPerceptions, which offers video blogs and newsletters that are focused on helping you refine the role communication plays in others’ first impressions of you.