Making a great first impression in a business meeting is essential and you have a very short time to make that impression. In fact, the first 30 seconds of any meeting are critical, and of those 30 seconds, the first 4 seconds are crucial. Keeping this in mind, you can get prepared ahead of time so that when you are face-to-face with your prospect you will most likely have a positive response.
1. Dress appropriately. Dress about 10% better than you expect your prospect to be dressed. It is not a good idea to overdress or under dress, this would be considered disrespectful by prospects.
2. Research your prospect’s values and beliefs. People feel comfortable doing business with people who are like them in appearance, beliefs and/or values. Be aware of these factors in preparation for making a great first impression.
3. Present and immaculate appearance. Physically appear as good as you can possibly can. When you meet your prospect; smell clean, hair not over-perfumed, hair trimmed and groomed, etc.
4. Ask your prospect the questions:
- What is the most important value that I could offer that would cause you to consider doing business with me?
- How would you know that this value has been met?
- If I am able to offer you this value, will you work for me?
- If you had to pick one thing that our service/product must do for you, what would it be?
5. Match your prospects speaking or listening pace. Do not speak so fast that you client fails to process what you are saying, and do not speak slowly if you client processes rapidly because you will bore him.
6. Keep your prospect to your right if possible. Take advantage of the brain’s organization and keep your client to your right if possible when shaking hands, sitting or communicating. This accesses more of the left brain for both of you and allows you both to relax and perform analytically.
7. When meeting with women, keep your eye level below theirs. Research reveals that women are more comfortable and less intimidated when their eye level is higher than those around them, so keep your eye level below that of your counterpart.
8. Model your prospects behavior. When prospects are particularly emotional, do not exceed their level of emotion as you model their behavior. Do allow yourself to be somewhat upset/concerned by the cause of their anger.
9. Be familiar with the terminology of the business/profession of prospect. Research reveals that using the same buzzwords and/or corporate lingo your customer does identifies you as an insider and make your prospect more likely to say yes to you.
10. Build a rapport with your prospect. Show sincere interest in your prospect’s interests, pursuits, and business. An honest and caring interest in the person you are trying to influence is important.
***The Science of Influence, by Kevin Hogan