Imagine one morning, the phone rings and you hear the excited voice of the customer who says that he heard about your great product and he wants to learn more about it. A beautiful reality, but it happens very rarely. Typically, you should call the stranger whose reaction may be far from pleasant. But you need to convince him or her to your service or product. It is not easy or pleasant. Therefore, the sale is the main occupation of each company so it must be carried out continuously, every day.
At the time of socialism aroung the wotld, goods were sold by itself, of course if they were brought to the store. Today, you can commission the production, the problem occurs only when the goods need to be sold. This should be done effectively and regularly, a one-time sale is not in the interest of the well-functioning company and hence a professional trader. The companies spend a lot of money on advertising brochures, promotions, marketing, media, and other activities designed to arouse the interest of potential customers, and to keep current clients in the belief that they are making the right decisions.
Personal contact with the client
However, the most important issue is the individual contact with the client, no matter whether it is to acquire new customers or maintain relationships with old clients. Therefore, successful traders will always be in demand in all markets. Attempts to reduce the value of professional sellers, with knowledge and experience, led many companies to bankruptcy. In many companies, I have heard opinions that you can sell goods even… without any preparation. One phone call and done. “Because 20 years ago, when I was starting, it was like that” – says the owner of the company. At that time maybe it was like that, but not anymore. Today’s reality has its own rules.
Personal contact is the key to market of more expensive products and services which require individual counseling and appropriate service; in turn they are associated with long-term relationships. Good examples of such products are luxury cars. The car is adapted to the individual needs and expectations of the customer, it often requires more frequent maintenance (compared to the lower class cars) in order to maintain the desired quality and efficiency, in addition to the vehicle the customer receives a number of additional services such as a concierge, insurance.
Why are the personal contact and the first impression so important? The first contact of the customer and the seller is a decisive moment. Firstly, because it cannot be repeated. According to that you should follow the principle: “Our future contacts will look just like this today.” Bad, negative first impression can definitely cross out further cooperation.
I have made this mistake many times, as I did not remember about this rule. Today I know that efforts put to erase the first impression are disproportionately big. I have heard the opinion that this requires as many as 12 meetings. It is worth considering what is more important: the first or the next 12 meetings? Personally, I urge you to ensure that you care about client with every opportunity, not only when there is the prospect of the sale. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Today you are collecting crops which you yield yesterday. When you plant carrots, you will not collect cucumbers. If you expect that it will be different… Albert Einstein defined insanity as follows: to work still the same and expect a different result.
The essential elements
So, what are the essential elements of the first contact? Personally, I include: the willingness to listen, competence, kindness (not obsequiousness), and good manners. At the beginning it is enough. Over time, as the seller learns the preferences of the client and he wants to work with him for a long time, the ability to build long-term relationships will be necessary. During the first contact it is essential to stimulate confidence, without it your further efforts will not bring the expected results. Courtesy to customers and good manners are often far from the desired. Repeatedly I encountered rudeness, lack of courtesy and incompetence.
Recently I had to deal with it in the pizzeria. My partner and I went for dinner at a place in the city center. When we were entering the restaurant, we did not hear any greetings. We took a table on the first floor in the restaurant and for 5 minutes no one came to us. We changed the table to the ground floor, however the situation repeated. I want to mention that in this restaurant were at least two waiters, and the number of customers did not exceed five people. One waiter was smoking a cigarette in front of the building and talking with a friend, and the second waiter was hitting on a colleague at the checkout. As in place appeared another couple which was served before us, I decided that it is not the way that I want to be treated.
What is the prospect of the development for this pizzeria, how much money is wasted by hiring incompetent employees? I will leave these questions unanswered. My experience may be a warning to others, I warn my friends today by telling them this story. A few minutes of lack of competence, lack of courtesy and lack of good manners, resulted in our reluctance and embarrassment. What financial effect does it have? Certainly not earning hundreds of euros per year, and this is only two would-be customers. How did the story end? We went to another place. I give a plus to the second restaurant. We were served as it should be done, with appropriate care, in a relaxed and cultural atmosphere. I have to mention that second place was almost full, and there was just one waitress and one bartender. Within 2 minutes we received a menu and the information that she has a lot of guests to serve that night and she asks for understanding. We received a dinner within a couple of minutes. To sum up that meeting, I can say that the desire to work, the preparation and attitude lead you to success in sales.
So how can we make good first impression? First of all – eye contact. Second – smile. Thirdly –greeting. How much time have you got? Less than 10 seconds. Even though it is only 10 seconds, it is enough. This is the time when you build trust. There are only two possibilities: there is the trust, or there is not. Why smile is so important? A smile costs nothing and it can give you many benefits. There are people for who smile is ordinary thing, but for the others it is very strange. Think which group do you belong to? Personally, I recommend opinion that: “a day without a smile is a day wasted.” Smile, it is one of the few things which multiply by dividing. Smiling face shows sympathy and joy of meeting new people. It creates an atmosphere of intimacy. It proves the strength of character and personality. In business, greeting is accompanied by a handshake. How should it look like? Handshake should be natural and strong, you should avoid vigorous shaking. Whole hands should encounter. Who gives the hand first? Follow the rules of savoir vivre.
To sum up, in more than 90% of opinion is derived from the first impression. The review of the company is the result of the opinions of its employees. Building a first impression does not require a lot of work, but it brings tangible results. Therefore, it is worth to remember the words of Zig Ziglar “Every one of us can be better tomorrow and he will be, if he starts improving today.”
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