5 Ways To Leave A Lasting Impressions
Most first impressions are made within the first 15 seconds of meeting someone. This is interesting to me considering that most first time meetings begin with pleasantries and small talk. Imagine meeting a nobel prize winner for the first time without being introduced. To speak with a nobel prize winner would leave a lasting impression, but I doubt they would tell you about that in the first 15 seconds of talking to them. It could be a while into the conversation before they bring it up or, if they are humble, it may not be mentioned at all. My point is simple, the first impression is important but a lasting impression should be the goal. So how do you make a lasting impression?
It’s simple, if you want to leave a lasting impression, you definitely want to start with an amazing first impression. Now, some people would say to give the person you are meeting a firm hand shake and then look the person right in the eye and say: “hello, my name is…” This is a great place to start, but I think there’s more to it than that. For instance, What was the person doing before you walked up? What kind of mood did the person seem to be in? What kind of environment are you meeting the person in? I believe these questions are important because I don’t think there can be a standard greeting that will make a great first impression with every single person that you meet. As a matter of fact, in some cultures it’s completely inappropriate to shake someones hand or even look them in the eyes. Communication is the key to a good first impression. The goal is to connect on a more personal level and try to understand how the person you are meeting prefers to communicate. We all communicate differently and the environment, mood or even time constraints can alter this communication. Take a moment to assess the environment, the body language of the person and the best way to communicate to that particular individual. In some cases the best way to leave a lasting impression may be to wait for another time to connect. While the first impression is definitely important, it’s only step one to making a lasting impression.
Small talk is also one of the keys to leaving a lasting impression. Talking about the weather, which is a normal starting point, can be pretty dull; but it might be necessary to find a connecting point. To me, small talk is about learning someones story, hearing their perspective and finding common ground. The objective of this portion of the conversation is not about killing time or avoiding an awkward conversation. Your goal is to create a connection that can establish your credibility and most of all build a strong rapport. It’s important to really listen to what they are saying and remain engaged. The last part of this is simple: what are your intentions? If you are only interested in getting what you want, more than likely your plan will backfire. I approach every new person I meet with the intention of trying to make a new friend and finding out what they need and how we can mutually benefit each other. To leave a lasting impression, I believe you have to care more about building a friendship and helping, than just getting another sale or contact.
As much as I believe you should build a friendship first, I also understand you need business. So at some point in this conversation there has to be a transition into the actual pitch. If you have built a rapport and found out what the potential customer needs, “the question” will come. So what is “the question”? It goes something like this: “So what do you do for a living” or “Tell me more about what you do.” In essence it is their acknowledgment that you have earned the right to pitch to them. If they do not ask the question towards the end of your small talk, you need to be careful. You will have an option to choose again between friendship and trying to make a sale. At that point, there is only one thing you can try that is still appropriate, which is to ask them what they do for a living. Again, if you have built a good rapport they may ask you the question, but tread lightly. At the end of the day it is better to leave a lasting impression vs. a pushy one.
When I say “the pitch”, I know that some of you sales professionals are thinking: “Finally! This is the part I have been waiting for.” Let me clarify, when I say pitch, I do not mean the hard sell or even the full elevator speech. The pitch should present the reasons why you think this person could benefit from the services or products you provide. This portion of the conversation is to create curiosity and lead to another meeting. Again this should be more about building a continuing relationship, rather then gaining a quick sale. Honestly, if you have found out what the potential customer really needs, not only will you gain a sale but a customer for life. The best part is, if they don’t have a need for your services or products now, they will keep you in mind for the future. The pitch, if not handled correctly is probably the most likely place to ruin a lasting impression. So be careful to manage your intentions before you begin your speech. Also, don’t forget that even if this potential customer is not interested, you never know who they are connected to. This is why it is crucial to leave a lasting impressions, so that you’re in the back of their mind when they are talking to their friends. The last thing to remember about the pitch, is that this is your chance to showcase your belief, passion and why your do what you do. Which in my opinion can do even more than just leave a lasting impression.
Now, there are a lot of famous words about this part of the conversation. Like: “you must ask for the sale”, “assume the sale” and “you’re doing them a disservice if you don’t give them a chance to buy”. I do believe these words make sense, but only through the filter of putting the customer first and solving their problems. This is the portion of the conversation where some form of next step needs to be taken. Whether that is asking for permission to follow up or setting up another meeting. Heck, it might even be the actual sale, but there must be some kind of action. It may even be as small of a step as them “liking” you on Facebook or connecting with you on LinkedIn. The important thing is that you find a way to stay connected. You will find that if you have truly left a lasting impression that they eventually respond to one of your calls to action in one way or another. Just make sure that there is a true benefit to them. With all of that said, if you want a great tool to help you better connect with your potential customers, take some time to check out One Card™, the digital business card designed for conversations just like these. Watch this video on how to use your One Card™ as an ice breaker – Click Here. Hopefully I built enough value in this blog article to be able to tell you about our services.