A Positive First Impression

What are some things that you do to ensure the client(s) that you are professional and provide to them a positive first impression?

Spend time both before and during the meeting getting to know them and the company (assuming this is a commercial client). Way too many reps make it about themselves and what they are selling.

So what your saying is to simply as a question relating to an area of their life and just listen to them? Can you offer a good opening question? How long do you discuss the topic at hand or just how long do you talk?

More than just an opening question. Again, assuming commercial. I spend time online prior to going out to understand their company and what the company does. Then, I try to spend some time with the prospect to understand their role and their security concerns. I also want to understand the operation of the facility, as that may help to identify potential security issues that they may not have thought of.

This doesn't work with every prospect, but I really just want a natural conversation, not just go through a list of questions. I do think, however, that if all you do is spend time looking at what they want quoted, then prepare a quote based on that, you're nothing more than a bidder. Hopefully the low one, as that will probably be your only shot at ever seeing them again.

Reading between the lines, I fear you want a "recipe" or "step-by-step" on how to open a discussion/meeting, win them over, show your professionalism, and land the sale. And there is no recipe or template because every situation is different.

This means flexibility in approach is key. Some individuals will view personal chit chat, especially at the launch of a meeting, as "blowing smoke" and providing cover for one's lack of knowledge relative to security, video, access control, fire systems or whatever the task at hand. Others, pressed for time, just want to get down to business.

Sadly, many salespeople make their careers on bluster and the buddy-buddy approach because they haven't a clue. It works for some--which is even more sad.

But, back to flexibility. You show your professionalism by not being cookie-cutter and by recognizing that each opportunity has many unique elements to it--preventing you from showing up and following a script. You read body language, learn the business and processes of the opportunity/site, and ask questions when appropriate. As the conversation unfolds you show your professionalism and credibility by connecting the issues and topics that the prospect is bringing up, or you are observing, by being specific and relevant.

This "back and forth" in a natural and unforced manner, where you are building credibility and adding value due to being flexible, is what will win sales.

One caution. Don't mistake this "flexible" approach as completely being at the mercy of the prospect. You want to achieve results and even direct much of the process, yet you are doing so by building off the actions and observations of the moment.

I see it as an art, really. Grounded in a knowledge of the industry/products/solutions/applications--and people.

Thanks for your input into this question. My goal here was to ensure that I was making as positive of a first impression as I could make. I do realize that every situation is different and I for sure did not want the client to feel as though I was working from a script. I hoped to gain a few “words of wisdom” to made the client feel more at ease with me. Was I missing anything? That’s all.

This question is right up Chris Peterson's alley. Also the source of thousands of "How to sell" books. It's also why successful sales people do get paid well. What can you do before you see the prospect? As you alluded to, first you have to see if they really are a prospect or one of you is practicing. Don't take it personal, some companies have their sales people call on others to learn from. Maybe they aren't a good fit and you want some practice? You never know. So, they are a prospect and you want to move forward. There are some things you can do in advance to build credibility. I'd tell you but this is open forum and I'm not training my competition! There is always the facility tour. Let's them talk about the company and on the way you may meet some other decision makers while gathering other potential issues. They speak, you listen. Don't use someone else's design as all you are doing is designating them as the expert and you are "just a bidder" UNLESS it was designed by an outside consultant. Then you have to cautiously make suggestions or the wrath will come. Make commitments in firm time periods. Not next week, Tuesday at 2:00. It matters. It's fair to ask "when will this be needed". "How would you like me to communicate with you" (email/text/phone) "what else could I work with you on, as they may not understand all the opportunities you can do. More to come later.....,

I like to initiate a hand shake (nothing worse than a limp hand) and read how the body language is being transmitted. In all my years of selling the environment albeit commercial or industrial really makes no difference to my approach. A first impression is one of confidence without arrogance that took time for development.

Just think about what annoys you don't act that way and be like others who have left you a good first impression. As mentioned let them do the talking you don't need to toot your horn, that's often is misconstrued to mean many things or for this analogy, sounding like a bragger. I don't think you can "ensure" everything in a meeting that's usually a proving mechanism with time which is worth a mention to prospects. And as ZZ Top sings "nothing looks better than a sharp dressed man" .

If you're not successful ask your potential client how you could have improved your first impression when I ask years ago I was told I talk too much...ugggg