Crafting Your First ImpressionMarch 12, 2012 | By Wayne O'Neill
You only get one chance at a first impression. How do you craft that first impression to make it impactful? Coaching and preparation are the keys. Knowing your target client’s style can make all the difference. Let’s take CEO David who has multiple projects and responsibilities on his plate, plus he is analytical and has a short attention span. He only wants a brief two sentence summary and bottom line. In contrast, CEO Bruce, he likes to hear a success story or two and wants buy-in from several staff members. If you did not know your client well and approached them in the opposite manner, you would lose the deal.
You see, we get along naturally with people who are like us, but that leaves out 75% of the other people! One of the worst things you can do while selling is to approach someone the wrong way.
In the January 20, 2012 issue of INC. magazine, Gail Browning writes about 9 ways to use your brain to help you know what style your target client prefers and how to sell to each style in an article called “What’s Going On In Your Customer’s Head?”. I have summarized them into 6 keys to remember:
- Determine if you are talking to “right-brain” or “left-brain” dominated individuals. Using an innovative, “intuitive, emotional approach on an analytical, logical, practical person would be disastrous, and vice versa.
- Determine the influencers and decision-makers behind the sale. WOA can help you find these key people who may not be the highest ranked people in the company or they may not even be in the room when you make your presentation.
- Keep your behavior “middle of the road” until you know more about your prospect. I know we live in a land where “extreme & bizarre” seem to be the norms in advertising, but in person, that would not lead to a good first impression.
- Make your presentation appeal to all four types of thinkers:
a. Analytical thinkers want the “ROI” upfront.
b. Structural thinkers want to improve on process.
c. Social thinkers want to make an impact on a relationship or on the welfare of others.
c. Conceptual thinkers are interested in connecting the dots.
Discuss with conceptual thinkers how (or if) your solution meets all these needs.
5. Listen to your client for client’s thought preference:
a. Analytical thinkers use words like “exactly” and “precisely.” They want the “bottom line.” Answer all questions and if you don’t know an answer, don’t guess but offer to find out immediately and make sure you follow up.
b. Structural thinkers use words like “turnaround time,” “preparation,” “realistic,” “wait,” or “hold on while I get this down.” Be prepared to list exactly how and when your solution can be implemented and how existing systems may be affected.
c. Social thinkers use words like “we,” “them,” “our,” “us,” and “you all” (or as we would say in Texas “Y’all.”
They care about bringing others into the conversation and want to know how it will affect employees.
d. Conceptual thinkers ask questions about the outcome. They want the bottom line but in the context of the bigger picture. Engage this individual’s attention immediately or you may lose it forever. Do not spell out everything in detail. Questions are often answered in what may seem far-fetched or with what may appear to be unrelated questions. Take every question at face value.
6. Keep your buyer focused on the desired solution.
As you wrap up your meeting, keep in mind that it’s not about the way your product is wired, but how well you listen and respond to the way your buyer is wired.
Wayne O’Neill & Associates coaches both owners and service providers to help you connect with the key decision makers, creatively find solutions that will generate ROI, not interfere with existing systems unless there is a need, address the human factors, and help you clearly communicate your vision.