You never have a second chance to make a first impression. Truer words were never spoken – especially in the world of sales. If you want a prospect to trust you, says Mike Renahan, you’ve got 30 seconds to do all the right things.
It should go without saying that you don’t want to be late when meeting a prospect for the first time. Renahan cites a poll which indicates that up to 20% of us are routinely late for work-related activities. Don’t be like that. Your prospect is giving up valuable time to hear what you have to say. If you’re late, your actions tell him that he isn’t very important to you. Give him reason to trust you by following the old adage – to be on time is to be five minutes early.
Impressions are also made in writing. Email communications are the way many prospects first become acquainted with a sales rep. Your prospect is likely in the market for an excellent product or service. If your email contains spelling errors or bad grammar, he’ll notice your lack of excellence. He’ll also notice if you spell his name incorrectly. Details like this, that become apparent in the 30 seconds it takes to read your email, will determine whether your prospect hits the Delete key or decides to listen to you for a little longer.
Show your prospect that you understand or know something about his business. Mention the details of a press release about one of his new products. Or, ask him what he thinks about one of the big trends in his industry. This kind of exchange demonstrates that you took the time to learn about his business and that you aren't treating him like just another customer.
Once you make it past the first 30 seconds with your prospect, continue to show that you’re informed and eager to help. But, don’t try to bluff your way through a conversation. If you don’t know the answer to one of his questions, promise him that you’ll research it. That way, you have the opportunity to meet again and move him further down the sales funnel.