You may only get one chance to impress a prospect, and you can’t take back a bad first impression. When you meet with a prospect, do you think about the impression you’re making? People often decide within the first minute whether they want to buy from you, so it’s imperative to make that time count.
1. When you meet someone face-to-face, over 90 per cent of their initial opinion of you is based solely on non-verbal factors.
- Pay attention to your appearance. Your hair should be neat and well-maintained, your shoes polished, and your outfit professional. These may seem like small details to you, but they’re the first things someone will notice.
- Be conscious of your body language. This includes a good, firm handshake, an open stance, eye contact and a smile. If you are not constantly aware of your body language and appearance, you may be giving off the wrong impression.
2. When the first contact is over the phone, you are judged about 70 per cent based on your tone of voice and only 30 per cent on what you say.
- Your speaking style is important. You should be likeable, confident, energetic and enthusiastic about your products. Positive energy is contagious.
3. Even though you are judged heavily on non-verbal factors, what you say is important too.
- Use their name immediately. People love hearing the sound of their name and it demonstrates that the focus of the conversation is on them.
- Depending on the prospect, it’s often effective to chat a bit to build a rapport. Research your prospect’s company and local area. Perhaps mention a news story from their area or make a light joke about the weather. Be sure to bring up their business somehow and try to compliment them or their company. Finding common ground can help make them comfortable, break down communication barriers, and get them to open up and have a real conversation.
4. Always project confidence and knowledge.
- Your body language, tone of voice and manner should all read confidence. If you’re comfortable and confident, your prospect will be too.
- Know your stuff. A person will be able to tell within 30 seconds if you know what you are talking about.
5. Focus on your listening skills – empathetic listening is the bridge to all successful relationships.
- People tend to be passive or distracted listeners, often without realising it. Concentrate on listening actively. People want to feel heard, respected and cared about. Make a conscious effort to remain engaged with what they are saying.
- Avoid making assumptions about the person before you really hear what they’re saying. The conversation should be about them and their needs, so you need to listen carefully to detect their true feelings and motives.
- Give that person your full, undivided attention. You should not be multi-tasking or thinking about your next meeting. Be fully “present” in the conversation and strive to find out as much as possible about your prospect.
Practising these simple tips will help you impress your prospects and build solid foundations for great client relationships. What you’re selling is important, but more important is the person selling the product. People buy from people they like.