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Sales Strategy
Feb 2, 2009 | Lynn Mattoon lock

In sales jobs a good first impression can mean everything. Whether you're meeting clients face-to-face, via phone, or through email communications, a potential client's first interaction with you can clinch or kill the sale.

Customer Instinct is Human Instinct
As humans, we often can't help but make immediate positive or negative judgments upon a first encounter. Perhaps it is animal instinct, something that saves us from dangerous situations or draws us to that which will benefit us. We're told time and time again not to judge a book by its cover, but to do this we must consciously overcome our instincts. As a salesperson knowing this is the first step to understanding why the first impression is an opportunity to attract rather than repel.

Create a Sense of Ease
One of the most important ways to make a good impression is to create an sense of ease. First, provide an atmosphere your customer can expect. This isn't to say you shouldn't try to "wow" your customer but do so within appropriate boundaries. Think about yourself when you're searching for a product on the Internet. Let's say you're looking for a waterproof digital camera. You get a webpage result and you click on the link. Up comes the page and there it is right in front of you! And wow! It even has more features than you originally expected. This is a positive and exciting experience for you and you're nearly ripping your credit card out of your wallet. The thing is, you already had an expectation that you would see what you were looking for when you clicked on that link. Imagine now that you click on the link and the product is hard to find, the page is messy and hard to navigate. Worse yet, you see the image of a waterproof watch instead! How do you feel? Immediate disappointment. What do you do? You click the "X" in the right hand corner of the page. It happens that way with salespeople too. When a potential client calls in or meets you he or she has expectations. Do you want to fulfill their hopeful image or be that corner "X" in their mind?

Here are some common customer expectations:

  • You're here to help me and answer my questions. You'll be happy to do so. Tone of voice and attitude reflects this instantly.

  • You're looking forward to meeting me and want to impress me. promptness and a neat, appropriate business attire show clients they are worthy of your effort.

  • You know the product and know how it will benefit me. Customers who have full knowledge of a product they can buy it without assistance from a website. If clients interact with you, you are providing knowledge that they can't acquire on their own. Know your stuff and know your customers. Why do they need your product? They're waiting for you to tell them.

  • You value me. Customers don't want to feel like just another sale or worse, like they're less important than another customer. It's often hard to draw the line on who is "wasting your time" but some customers just need a little bit more attention to push them to the "yes" point. After putting in some time you might give up just before the customer finally felt comfortable with the decision.

  • I can trust you. This is the most important thing of all. All the other points add up to TRUST. If you've successfully done the above you've built trust and customers will be happy to give you the sale.
  • A first impression is so much more than a firm handshake or a pleasant hello. You will instantly pass or fail in meeting expectations. In life and in sales we sometimes fail and it's game over, other times we get a second chance. Always aim to make a great first impression and you'll find success is more constant than failure in your career!

    About the Author:

    Lynn is a content editor/career writer for and their many niche job search websites.


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