3. Practice making first impressions.
It’s easy to make a bad first impression. People can sense your energy, size you up and judge you within the first 10 seconds of meeting you. Whether it’s via cold email, digital chat or in-person meeting, you can always be working on your first impressions. You have to discern how people are feeling when you meet them, and then you have to try new approaches until you learn what works for you.
Consider my first attempt at bar bribery. Once I overcame the total humiliation, fear and dorkiness I felt after that encounter, I gave it another go. Several years later, I was trying to impress a friend at one of the most prestigious pubs in Boston (during playoff season). I walked up to the bouncer and had this exchange:
“Hey! I don’t believe we’ve met before. I’m Mike.”
“Hey, what’s up.”
“Well, now that we’re best friends, how much is it going to cost us to not wait in line?”
He told me an amount, and I asked whether it was OK if I gave him a little more than that. He laughed, and soon thereafter (with a handshake and a bro hug), we found ourselves inside. First impressions matter.
I’ve come a long way, and while present-day me cringes at the thought of bribing my way into bars, I’ve become conscientious about how I’m treating people in our first meeting. By practicing every day — in the checkout line, in the elevator, at the bank — you can notice how your interactions make other people feel and how you contribute to raising positivity in those around you.
Become a skilled practitioner of first impressions and great questions as well as a repository of helpful content for your network, and you’ll find that the whole sales thing gets a lot easier — and faster. Business decisions are made by people, and people appreciate a more personalized, empathetic and thoughtful approach.