We Only Get One Chance To Make A First Impression

We only get one chance to make a first impression.

Think of the ultimate elevator pitch request: ‘Describe yourself to me in one word.

If you’re like most people, you’ve been asked this in a job interview. It’s the bane of every college graduate: How can I boil down everything I am into a single word?

Here’s the rub; we may not be able to describe ourselves in one word, but others will. The same goes for our business.

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I spent time last week with an international branding authority, Sylvie DiGusto. According to DiGusto, studies show that first impressions are surprisingly resilient. After forming this opening impression, confirmation bias kicks in. We look for things which support our initial reactions and discount those which don’t.

In her book, The Image Of Leadership, she notes this first impression forms in 7 seconds. Seven Seconds.

Brain research indicates that other’s initial impression of us gets unconsciously imprinted upon their mind via a single word. This is one word becomes stuck in their heads. This word makes the sale either easier or harder. First impressions are more important than we think. And as market research tells us, a negative impression is 8x more powerful than a positive one. Thus the critical moment in any interaction with a potential client comes in the blink of an eye. You may not make the sale in those first few moments, but you can easily lose one.

The good news though is that this process and our image is entirely under our control. We can make it what we want. We can impact the first impression we make upon buyers.

It’s a combination of our dress, our attitude, our communication, our websites, storefronts, ads, brochures, employees…even the way we answer the phone. All these are searing words in customer’s minds.

We can make that one word a good word.

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Michael Brand