You have heard it time and time before that the first impression is the last impression. But did you know that it only takes seven seconds to make a first impression. How does your brain handle first impressions and how can we use first impressions to benefit us? First impressions are emotionally concentrated events, as such they leave a picture in your brain. This picture develops instantly and never entirely fades. Your brain takes the first impression picture and combines it with all the other signals in the experience of meeting a new person. 

“Psychologists agree that snap judgments are a holistic phenomenon in which clues (mellifluous voice, Rolex watch, soggy handshake, hunched shoulders) hit us all at once and form an impression larger than their sum.”

After you establish this initial connection, you are able to build on the other signals that help to form a first impression. First impression have the power to make or break a sale! They stand between you and a return customer. In every interaction you are the face of your company and since bad news or in this case bad experiences travel fast, make sure you are giving off the best first impression. These impression are a combination of conversation, body language, and voice.

Here are a few tips to make sure you nail that first impression:

10-5 Rule: When a customer is 10 feet away, acknowledge their presence by making eye contact and a smile. When a customer is five feet away give them a verbal greeting.

Smile: One of the first thing someone will notice is their face. A person is able to spot a smile from 30 meters away. When you smile, the person will see that you are warm and welcome. People will want to approach you. Whatever you do, don’t fake a smile! Your customers will know and their trust in you will go out the door. Be genuine and show you really care about helping them.

Body Language: Look like you want to be there. If your body screams that you don’t want to be there or your not comfortable in your space, you customer will know. Be confident in how you present yourself.

“During face to face meetings, 93% of people’s judgements of others are based on non-verbal input like body language.”

Here is a good power stance to help you feel more grounded and confident: plant your feet six inches to eight inches apart, one slightly ahead of the other, show them you have control over the room. Open yourself up to the room and NEVER cross your arms. Be sure to make eye contact. Without eye contact people will think you are nervous, disinterested, or rude.

Look the Part: Being well groomed and dressed in a professional manner is a given tip. However, there are ways to throw some unique elements into your attire that will make you stand out. Embellished pins, ties, and handkerchiefs will allow you to throw some of your personality into the first impression without going over board.

Personalize the Experience: Introduce yourself and deliver a strong handshake! If they don’t give you their name, ask for it. Using their name during an interaction helps create a personable experience that stands out. Try when possible to go above and beyond service. This encounter will stay with a customer.

Communication: This is a two-way street, make sure you are listening to their needs. The tone of your voice should be genuine and show that you are excited to help them with their needs. 38% of a first impression is determined by the tone of your voice. Try to be efficient and concise with answers and support, but don’t be afraid to have small talk. This will help establish rapport with the new customer. When delivering the answer to their question, be confident in your delivery to show them you are an expert and give them time to respond with other questions. If you give them well articulated answers they will trust you as an expert. 

Closing: When all is done and you have helped the customer with ALL their needs, make sure that you let them know you appreciate them as a customer. What starts with a smile ends with a smile.

A good first impression is the thing that will keep the customers coming. 87% of customers share good experiences with others and 95% of customers share bad experiences with others. Keep the bad experiences to a minimum by nailing your first impression. Check to see if you are doing well or not by gathering feedback on customer exchanges. Encourage better first impression, by asking the right questions to know where room for improvement lies. Using apps like TradeOn, you can gather feedback and reward customers for answering the survey. Get real insight on how you are doing on your first impressions and make it last!