Win more business in just ten seconds.
Would you describe yourself as judgmental? I can’t imagine there are many that would, given it’s not the most positive of personality traits. But however liberal and open-minded you may try to be, the harsh reality is that when first meeting someone or watching them speak you instantly form an impression of them, whether you’re aware of it or not. We all judge other people, sub-consciously and consciously, on their professionalism, capability, sincerity and credibility; and all in a very short space of time. The bad news is that people judge us too.
It’s therefore vital that you control the first impression you give to others so that they view you as someone worth listening to. People judge each other within the first four to five seconds of meeting and then add to or amend that impression in the next five seconds. It can then take around twenty-one additional encounters with that person to change that first impression.
Put in an agency new business context, you can see how those first ten seconds of meeting a prospect or new client can influence your chances of winning more business. Nail those first ten seconds, work hard to control the first impression you give to them and that all-important prospect will be far more likely to have a positive perception of you, both as an individual and as an agency overall.
But while you might wish that initial perceptions were based on your intelligence or agency experience, the majority of studies show that first impressions are shaped by what can be seen or heard in those first few seconds of meeting. Take a few moments to think about how you come across to others. Does your image project competence, confidence and trustworthiness? Or does your image give the impression that you’re stressed, overwhelmed or unreliable? If you’re worried your first impression leans more towards the latter, read through our top five tips for making a more positive first impression:
- Hone your non-verbal communication:
Walk tall, shake hands firmly and establish good eye contact to ensure you aren’t doing anything to damage a good first impression.
- Fine-tune your verbal communication:
Speak clearly, professionally and at an appropriate pace when first meeting someone. Keep your language simple and don’t be tempted to bamboozle with long words or acronyms. Ask a friend or colleague to role-play if necessary – it may feel crass at first, but practice can really pay off.
- Consider your attitude:
Smile! Not only does it bring warmth and vibrancy to your face and voice, it helps you to project a positive attitude, enhancing your approachability and likeability.
- Focus your attention:
Truly focus on the person you’re meeting and give them your full attention – however harried or distracted you may feel.
- Scrutinize how you look:
Consider whether your clothes, hair and make-up project the image you wish to project. If you want people to view you as creative, does your clothing reflect your individual creativity? What do your clothing choices say about you?
By working hard to control initial perceptions in those crucial first ten seconds of meeting, you can drastically improve the odds of making a positive first impression, both as an individual and as an agency overall. Who’d have thought that just ten seconds could help you win more business…?