Making the First Impression, Handshake Edition

June 7, 2012 Laird Rixford

Yesterday we talked about how to make a good first impression on your website. Today let us talk about how to make a good first impression in person.

The First 14 Seconds

When meet someone you have 14 seconds to make a good and lasting first impression. Your prospect will subconsciously size you up. They will look at your demeanor and presentation and weigh it against your message. If you visually come across well groomed and easy on the eyes, but you are in their face with a forceful message, then you will be instantly dismissed. Likewise, if you are slightly stuck in the 80s in style yet present your pitch in a concise, honest and straightforward manner you will have a greater chance of making that great first impression.

When you are representing your agency this is no different. You need to make a good first impression in those same 14 seconds. Does your agency look clean and organized? Do you have a logo that stands out? Do your marketing materials look uniform in style and message? Are you able to convey your agency's value proposition quickly and concisely? If not, you might not be making the best first impression.

Meeting prospects and clients of your agency in person is no different. You should present yourself as a business professional that the customer can trust with their finances. Offer them a good handshake and a sincere look in the eyes, and give them your 10-second pitch.

After this initial contact gauge their reaction, did your effort open them up to the rest of the conversation? If so, good job, for now... there is more.

The Last 14 Seconds

Just like with the first 14 seconds, the last 14 seconds are also critical in making that lasting impression. This impression will have to last until the next time you talk to the client. A few more of these memorable last impressions and you will make a lifetime impression.

As you wrap up the conversation, be open to the prospects mannerisms. Do they want to move on? Are they wanting to sit and chit chat? Being keenly aware of their mood will help determine when the final 14 seconds has begun. Again, look them in the eye, and thank them for their time. Provide them with your professionally designed and memorable business card (with logo) and give them a good handshake (or hug if you have become buddies). If possible find a way to reiterate your condensed pitch.

I know that this all seems to be a no-brainer. However, as I sit here in a Florida convention hall, looking around it never ceases to amaze me at the sheer number of people that do not create that great lasting impression... all with a handshake.

About the Author

Laird Rixford

As CEO, Laird Rixford is responsible for providing strategic direction and leadership for the company. Rixford has a proven executive management track record and has more than 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship and insurance technology. An expert in insurance technology and marketing, Laird is a recognized public speaker and has presented at industry events across the United States.

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