Can you close a sale in just seven seconds? If you make a great first impression, you can do it even faster. Seven seconds is about what one has to make a winning first impression.
If yours is unfavorable, you won't get another chance. But if it's great, you can bet the customer is likely to take you and your dealership seriously.
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.
Here are eight tips that can help you in an important aspect of automotive retailing:
- Learn How We Form 1st Opinions
When you meet someone face-to-face, 93% of how you are judged is based on non-verbal data — your appearance and your body language. Only 7% 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.
- Choose 1st 12 Words Carefully
Although research shows that your words make up a mere 7% 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 the customer. Perhaps, it is “Thank you for visiting us today.”
- Use the Customer's Name Quickly
When you use the customer's name in conversation it sends a message that you value that person and are focused on him or her. Nothing gets other people's attention as effectively as calling them by name.
- Pay Attention to Your Hair
Your customers will. In fact, they will notice your hair and face first. Putting off a needed haircut or color job may cost the deal. Few people want to do business with someone who's unkempt or whose hairstyle does not look professional. Don't let a bad hair day cost you at work.
- Keep Your Shoes in Mint Condition
People will look from your face to your feet. Shoes should be polished as well as appropriate for the business environment. They may the last thing you put on before you walk out the door, but they are often one of the first thing your client sees.
- Walk Fast
Studies show that people who walk 10-20% faster than others are viewed as important and energetic, the kind of person customers want to do business with. Pick up the pace and walk with purpose.
- Fine Tune Your Handshake
The first move you make when meeting your prospective client is to put out your hand. There isn't a businessperson anywhere who can't tell you that a good business handshake should be firm. Yet many people offer a limp hand. Here's how to do it right: Position your hand to make complete contact with the other person's. Once you've connected, close your thumb over the back of the other person's hand and give a slight squeeze.
- Match Body Language to Words
A smile or pleasant expression tells your clients that you are glad to be with them. Eye contact says you are paying attention and are interested in what is being said by the other person. Leaning in toward the customer makes you appear engaged and thoroughly involved in the conversation. Use such signals to look interested and interesting.
Lydia Ramsey is a business etiquette expert, professional speaker and author of the book, “Manners That Sell: Adding the Polish that Builds Profits.” Website: www.mannersthatsell.com