Financial Services – The First Impression

The first impression you make on potential clients will either begin the process of building their trust in you or dig a hole from which you’ll have to recover before a foundation of trust can be established. It’s such a critical, yet often overlooked aspect of sales training. Everything you do or say when you’re within visual or auditory reach of potential clients counts. Orchestrate every move and word to build trust.

Your potential client starts sizing you up the first second he or she sets eyes on you. If you’re in a large lobby and the walk across it takes some time, the potential client may have formed a firm impression before you even get to say “hello” or offer a handshake. If you’re dressed inappropriately, are unkempt, shuffle or shamble across the room, have poor posture, appear intimidated or over-confident, and so on, your opportunity to win the day may be over before it even begins.

You have seven to ten seconds to make a good impression.

Offer a compliment on an article of clothing, a photograph on a wall or desk, a piece of art in the office – anything. Segue into a minute or so of pleasant conversation, which relaxes your potential client, starts the process whereby she begins to like you, and sets the stage for building rapport and trust.

If you’re a bit nervous at first meetings, don’t be alarmed. It’s natural to feel a few “butterflies” in your stomach. Even the top performers get that sometimes. I don’t mind a small onset of “nerves.” It’s nature’s way of keeping us on our toes. If you ever lose that slight uneasiness you’re probably getting complacent and that means you’re about to make a lot of mistakes and will probably lose a lot of sales. If you’re nervous before an original contact, relax. That’s S.O.P. (Standard Operating Procedure).

I still get butterflies before going on stage and I’ve presented nearly 5,000 seminars in my training career. The butterflies are there because I truly care to give the best performance I can with each and every audience.

If you stop having butterflies, take note of your attitude. Has it changed? If you get to where you don’t truly and sincerely care for the people you serve, you will have lost your edge in this business and it will show. There’s another side to the butterflies as well. If you continually get so knotted up that you feel as though you’ll throw up on your potential client’s expensive carpet, perhaps it’s time to rethink whether or not you’re in the right business. You may need to sit down with your manager, partner, or suppliers and go over your product knowledge and/or review the selling skills training you’ve had thus far before meeting with many more clients.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.  My upcoming Sales Academy and my online courses have been approved by the CFP Board and the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) for continuing education credits.