You Are How You Meet

When it comes to making a good first impression, there’s a reason why you avoid making them over the phone. Maybe it’s because, over time, you’ve learned the building blocks of establishing critical relationships—how you dress, body language, and your ability to focus on the other person—are all predominantly visual. These go out the window if the person on the other line can’t see you.

In fact, a team of psychologists have uncovered there’s some truth in the saying that “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” Bertram Gawronski, Canada Research Chair at The University of Western Ontario explains:

“Imagine you have a new colleague at work and your impression of that person is not very favorable. A few weeks later, you meet your colleague at a party and you realize he is actually a very nice guy. Although you know your first impression was wrong, your gut response to your new colleague will be influenced by your new experience only in contexts that are similar to the party. However, your first impression will still dominate in all other contexts.” (Source: “Research discovers why first impressions are so persistent”)

As we move forward in the Sales 2.0 world, getting to meet people face-to-face has become more challenging. But there are still ways you can make the best first impression—no matter where you may be—and gain the edge you need to win out over your competition.

Walk the Walk
54% of people compare your service with your competitors’. Which is why it’s crucial to “wow” them out the gate right away – since you aren’t the only solution provider your prospects are looking at.

Companies invest thousands—in some cases millions—trying to impress prospects before an initial meeting. For example, one of the first things a prospect sees is your company website. Think about how much money is allocated towards the upkeep of your website: design, content, marketing, social media. Your company may spend roughly 70% of your marketing budget making sure the website is engaging and on point; enough to impress any potential clients. (Source: “Digital Marketing Budget Trends”) So why not carry this standard over to how you meet with customers and prospects?

A phone call is hardly a way to make a good first impression. During face-to-face meetings, 93% of people’s judgments of others are based on non-verbal input like body language. But what if you absolutely can’t meet with a prospect in person?

Video Killed the Competitor
It all boils down to the impression you give your prospect. Let’s say they’re in a different country or time zone – how do you meet with them without resorting to a cold email or phone call? The Wall Street Journal recently reported that most companies were solving this pain by getting on video. They save time and money on “impressive, beautiful [videoconferencing] systems that make you feel like you’re in the same room with your colleagues. You’ll save money — but you’ll also reduce your environmental footprint through reduced travel.” (Source: “Will Videoconferencing Kill Business Class Travel?”)

Instead of emailing prospects a link to a demo, why not take them into the digital media space? Have them experience the features, look, and feel of your product in real-time instead of pointing them to a “Services” page. If you’re able to provide an innovative and rich online experience through videoconferencing, then you’ve already got the upper hand.

Mobility in the Sales 2.0 Space
In the near future, agencies project the fastest increase in spending will reside in video, mobile and social media, 69%, 68% and 48%, respectively. (Source: Media Post)

Knowing this, it’s crucial to choose the right tool to make your first impression. If you’re still using the telephone as your default, you may want to think twice. Sure, your “voice is your calling card”, but we all know that in-person meetings are an easier and more effective way to establish contact with critical prospects; whether it’s in the office, at a trade show, or on a live video conference via iPad.

And that mobility may be exactly what you need to differentiate yourself, and make a fantastic first impression.

For more tips, Forrester’s TJ Keitt shares insights into the business impact of the mobile worker in this free webinar: How Mobile Is Your Workforce?


Image source: Flickr


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