Can you close a sale in just seven seconds? You can do it faster if you use a sales technique to make a great first impression. Seven seconds is the average length of time you have to make a first impression. If your first impression is not good you won' t get another chance with that potential client. Make a great first impression and the client is likely to take your small business seriously.
Whether your initial meeting is face-to-face, over the phone or via the Internet, you do not have time to waste. It pays for you to understand the sales technique of how people make their first judgment and what you can do to control the results.
Learn the Non-verbal Sales Technique
When you meet someone face-to-face, 93% of how you are judged is based on non-verbal communication -- your appearance and your body language. Only 7% is influenced by the words that you speak. A good sales technique is to remember people do judge a book by its cover. When your initial encounter is over the phone, 70% of how you are perceived is based on your tone of voice and 30% on your words. It's not what you say - it's the way that you say it.
Choose Your First 12 Words
Although research shows words make up a mere 7% of what people think of you in a one-on-one encounter, don't leave them to chance. Express some form of thank you when you meet the client. Perhaps, it is "Thank you for taking your time to see me today" or "Thank you for joining me for lunch." Clients appreciate you when you appreciate them.
Use Their Name Immediately
Another forgotten sales technique is to remember there is no sweeter sound than that of our own name. When you use the client's name in conversation within your first twelve words and the first seven seconds, you are sending a message that you value that person and are focused on him. Nothing gets other people's attention as effectively as calling them by name.
Pay Attention to Your Hair
Your clients will. In fact, they will notice your hair and face first. Putting off that much-needed haircut or color job might cost you the deal. Don't let a bad hair day cost you the connection.
Shiny Shoes Sales Technique
People will look from your face to your feet. If your shoes aren't well maintained, the client will question whether you pay attention to other details. Shoes should be polished as your sales technique. They may be the last thing you put on before you walk out the door, but they are often the first thing your client notices.
A faster walker can be perceived as important and energetic - just the kind of person your clients want to do business with. Pick up the pace and walk with purpose if you want to impress.
A Good Business Handshake
The business handshake is an essential selling technique to make a lasting impression. The first move you make when meeting your prospective client is to put out your hand. There isn't a businessperson anywhere who can't tell you that the good business handshake should be a firm one. Yet time and again people offer a limp hand to the client.
To have a good business handshake, position your hand to make complete contact with the other person's hand. Once you've connected, close your thumb over the back of the other person's hand and give a slight squeeze. You'll have the beginning of a strong business relationship.
Make Stylish Introductions
The proper introduction is a selling technique used by all sales masters. It does matter whose name you say first and what words you use when making introductions in business. Business etiquette is based on rank and hierarchy. Honor the senior or highest ranking person by saying his name first. When the client is present, he is always the most important person. Say the client's name first and introduce other people to the client. The correct words are "I'd like to introduce..." or "I'd like to introduce to you..." followed by the name of the other person.
Always Have Business Cards
Your business cards and how you handle them contribute to your total image. Have a good supply of them with you at all times since you never know when and where you will encounter a potential client.
How unimpressive is it to ask for a person's card and have them say, " Oh, I'm sorry. I think I just gave my last one away." You get the feeling that this person has already met everyone he wants to know. Keep your business cards in a card case, protected from wear and tear. You will be able to find them without a lot of fumbling around, and they will always be in pristine condition.
Use Proper Body Language
The best selling technique is a smile. It tells your clients you are glad to be with them. Eye contact says you are paying attention and are interested in what is being said. Leaning in toward the client makes you appear engaged and involved in the conversation. Use as many signals as you can to look interested and interesting.
In the business environment, you plan your every move with potential clients. You arrange for the appointment, you prepare for the meeting, you rehearse for the presentation, but in spite of your best efforts, potential clients pop up in the most unexpected places. Leave nothing to chance. Every time you walk out of your office, be ready to make a powerful first impression...it is the best selling technique.
Lydia Ramsey is a business etiquette expert, professional speaker, corporate trainer and author of "Manners That Sell - Adding the Polish That Builds Profits." She has been quoted or featured in The New York Times, Investors' Business Daily, Entrepreneur, Inc., Real Simple, and Woman's Day.
Edited by Alyssa Gregory