It Starts With You: Thoughts from Many-a-First Impression
Every day, we get meet new people and hear their stories. In person, on a call, on a chat, at an event or on a plane, it doesn’t matter where we meet, we just love to meet people. Obviously - or we wouldn't be doing what we do!
When you're a people-person in a field that requires extensive networking, there are certain things that grab our attention within the first few minutes after introduction. Regardless of what you sell, what you create, or where your expertise lie, the first impression Starts With You!
As you consider starting your business, remember: you ARE your business. A potential client or customer is buying you before they're buying your product or service. Are you instilling confidence in them by comfortably telling them who YOU are? Can you concisely tell someone what YOU PROVIDE your clients or customers? Are you pleasant? Are you genuine? Are you positive? Are you passionate about what you do?
Are First Impressions Really Everything?
Like we said: we meet a lot of people, and that's a lot of first impressions. Whether you're new to networking or not, it never hurts to consider how your first impression rates. To help, here's just a little insight into how we process meeting new people:
It typically takes a few minutes of conversation to filter through a first impressions to decide where (and whether...and IF) to take the conversation. We tend to ask a lot of questions about who you are as a person before we get into what "you do." Often times this gives us a window into what (if, anything - eek!) you're truly passionate about and can often tell us whether we want to know more.
If so, the inevitable question comes to the table: What do you DO?
We live in a culture where this is one of the first questions anyone asks when meeting someone new (that's why we intentionally try NOT to lead off with it!) What we "do" tends to define us in society. If society is going to define you based on what you do, than you better love what you do and it better show. That's the first impression that grabs our attention!
We really love to talk to people who clearly enjoy what they do, both in life and work. When someone loves their work, they are clearly and authentically excited about it, and the entrepreneurial spirit shines as they talk about their passion. We love that energy, that excitement, and that pride in ownership. This is entrepreneurship at its finest.
Authenticity is a hot topic these days, and when you love what you do, you naturally tend to have authentic conversations, like what we described above. If you're asking: How do we evaluate first impressions? This is when you have our attention.
From this point in the conversation, we would start asking things like: How can we learn more? What does that look like? How can we help your business? How can it help us? If you're getting questions like this from those you meet while networking, you're on the right track. If not, maybe you have some word to do.
These high quality, interesting, exciting encounters are why we attend events. And, it is exactly why you should attend them as well. These are the types of meetings that go somewhere; collaborations, clients, contracts. Memorable first impressions can take your business to places you never dreamed. But it doesn't end at there.
If first impressions are everything, than follow-up is the cherry on top.
If it sounds like these kinds of encounters are standard form when we're out an about, know they are not. These conversations don't happen every day, so you have to take advantage of them when they do (no matter how you stand to benefit)!
You have to get proactive to stay in touch. Follow-up and follow-through (or lack thereof) is usually where good networking - and good first impressions - often stop in their tracks.
You hand us a card; you ask us for one of ours; the conversation is usually over, and your card goes into a pocket along with 20-50 other cards from the day. At best, you send an email in a week and hope we remember the conversation. Maybe we will remember, often we won’t.
If you had a positive reaction to a conversation, it is up to YOU to stay fresh in their minds.
Do more than take the card and stick it in a pile. Go home and DO something with it. The next day! Take our information and put us into your contact database. If you're too excited to wait to send an email, shoot us a text - right away! This helps confirm the initial meeting - and its significance, and then send us more information about your company. Remind us why we wanted to learn more about YOU.
Follow-up, connect, pursue. Remember, it starts with you!
EasyBizStart is your go-to place for practical business consulting and coaching, productivity systems, and the hands-on tools you need to make your business succeed. If you want to brush up on your networking skills or make sure your business looks legit when you're making a first impression, contact us! We're happy to sit down for a FREE 30-minute consultation to see how we can help your business grow and succeed. firstname.lastname@example.org | 775-800-5501