Trusting First Impressions
Trusting First Impressions
In prehistoric times, the caveman didn't differentiate between business and pleasure. His life was about surviving and reproducing. His interaction with others revolved around staying on top of the food chain while ensuring the future prosperity of his people. A typical day might involve killing the day's quarry and clubbing a potential mate over the head.
This prehistoric mentality pervaded the 20th century approach to surviving in business, characterized by the image of the Fuller Brush salesman pitching his wares door to door to unsuspecting housewives back in the 40s and 50s. The bravado that fueled the potency of the sales pitch to the consumers of this bygone era still exists today in myriad courtship-style rituals between "seller" and "consumer”.
As the 21st century unfolds, the "hunting" style of sales hasn't drastically changed since the days of the caveman. Why do some new business ideas establish a profitable relationship with the consumer while others are rejected? The same reason any potential relationship succeeds or fails. Trust. Do I trust you enough to metaphorically "buy what you are selling"? To survive and thrive in business, the positive answer to this question is paramount.
It seems to reason that if our ability to persuade or charm one another towards profitable ends has evolved from the caveman's needs, then we must understand the basic psychology of human social interaction to improve upon its functionality in the business world.
Communicating effectively is more art than science. The flow and beauty of any artistic expression can exist in the gestures, words, intentions, and emotions of a well-crafted negotiation or transaction between buyer and seller.
How can you improve the 'aesthetic' of your pitch to a prospect? We can offer a variety of non-verbal cues that convey feelings and attitude without the obligation of the spoken word. Tone, enthusiasm, posture, and overall expressiveness will articulate desire more than what is actually said. Since the pursuit of a relationship is implied by the nature of the gathering, consumers will read cues in the correct context and decide very quickly if they wish to go beyond the initial introduction. The salesman’s goal is to tactfully broadcast intentions while providing an opportunity for the consumer to gracefully withdraw from the engagement altogether or to at least commence with bi-directional communication. If done effectively, this communication will elicit a response, favorable or otherwise, from the consumer without causing any awkwardness or embarrassment for either party.
This quick exchange has piqued the consumers interest enough to warrant further interaction. The salesman has politely expressed interest (verbally and non-verbally) while allowing the consumer to make an un-pressured decision to reciprocate. So how does the consumer ultimately respond?
For sake of this hypothetical, answering this questions is not important. The consumer’s initial curiosity shows the salesperson has made a favorable first impression. Either way, the salesperson has created a climate for a potential relationship to ensue.
Articulately expressing your thoughts and feelings with no consequence of their misinterpretation requires the ability to observe and understand the thoughts and feelings of your audience. The absence of this ability will kill a business deal. Creating a professional climate that fosters success requires talent. You have to know your audience.
When you find yourself in a professional setting where you are introduced to someone you are interested in as a potential client, consider all facets of communication. Every type of buying decision requires an emotional element simply because people rarely buy goods or services they don't feel good about. They look to people and products they trust, whether it is for a purchase or a referral to a colleague.