Monday, December 20, 2010

How To Seal The Deal In Ten Seconds

clip_image002[1]This article was written by Barry McKinley, SCORE Orange County Management Counselor

Can you close a sale in just 10 seconds?  You can do it even faster if you make a great first impression. Ten seconds is the average length of time you have to make a first impression.  If your first impression is not good you won’t get another chance with the potential customer.

Whether your initial meeting is face-to-face, over the phone or via the Internet, you do not have time to waste.  It pays for you to understand how people make their first judgment and what you can do to be in control of the results.

1. Learn What People Use To Form Their First Opinion

When you meet someone face-to-face, 90% of how you are judged is based on non-verbal data – your appearance and your body language.  Only 10% is influenced by the words that you speak.  Whoever said that you can’t judge a book by its cover failed to note that people do.  When your initial encounter is over the phone, 70% of how you are perceived is based on your tone of voice and 30% on your words.  Clearly, it’s not what you say – it’s the way you say it.

2. Choose Your First Twelve Words Carefully

Although research shows that your word make up a mere 10% of what people think of you in a one-on-one encounter, don’t leave them to chance.  Express some form of thank you when you first meet a customer.  “Thank you for your interest in our products.”

3. Use The Other Person’s Name Immediately

There is no sweeter sound than that of our own name.  When you use the customer’s name in conversation you are sending a message that you value that person and are focused on him.  Nothing gets other people’s attention as effectively as calling them by name.

4. Pay Attention To Your Hair

Your customer will look at your face and hair.  Very few people want to do business with someone who is unkempt.

5. Keep Your Shoes In Mint Condition

People will look from face to feet.  If your shoes aren’t well maintained the customer may question whether you pay attention to other details.

6. Walk Fast

Studies show that people who walk 10-20% faster than others are viewed as important and energetic- just the kind of person our customers want to do business with.

7. Fine Tune Your Handshake

The first move when shaking hands should be sure to make it a firm one.  Yet time and again people offer a limp hand to their customer.  You’ll be assured of giving an impressive grip and getting off to a good start if you position your hand to make complete contact with the other person’s hand.  Once you’ve connected, close your thumb over the back of the other person’s hand and give a slight squeeze.  You’ll have the beginning of a good business relationship.

8. Always Have Business Cards

Your business cards and how you handle them contribute to your total image.  Always have a good supply, remember this is the least expensive item you can give a customer but can certainly repay you in sales and commissions.

9. Match Your Body Language To Your Verbal Message

A smile or pleasant expression tells your customer that you are glad to be with them.  Eye contact says that you are paying attention and are interested in what they are saying.  Leaning in towards your customer makes you appear engaged and involved in the conversation.  Use as many signals as you can look interested and interesting.