Many things play a part in business success, from entrepreneurs’ product knowledge to time management and commitment. Yet one thing everyone agrees on is that making a strong first impression is vital.
Whether meeting a prospective client or potential partner, the impression one makes very often determines how business relationships progress. And that’s because psychologists say those initial interactions have a lasting impact on our brains.
So how do you ensure you make a positive first impression that can help potentially grow your network and business?
Well, it starts with a few simple steps.
1. Dress for success
The idea of dressing for work has evolved, with even activewear now considered just as appropriate for a client meeting as conservative shirts, slacks and skirts, if paired right. Even so, it’s important to remember that those you’re meeting will have their preferences and, sometimes, prejudices.
As such, always think about the person you’re meeting and consider whether your attire conveys respect.
Remember humans are visual beings. So, like it or not, what you choose to wear will register. However, whether that impression is good or bad is down to you.
2. Check your appearance and smile
Just as important as your attire is your appearance. So ensure that your nails and hair are groomed, and pay attention to your personal hygiene, especially your teeth.
It’s been found that a clean and bright winning smile can score both friends and business deals, which is why your oral health should be a priority.
Make sure that you’re brushing twice a day, and before meetings. Flossing. Making and keeping dental appointments. And importantly, using the right toothpaste.
Pastes aren’t all equal, you see, and most contain fluoride, which can cause unsightly lines on teeth and even lead to conditions like osteoporosis and organ damage.
So pick one with natural ingredients, such as ProSpark, fortified with neem, rock salt and a patented mix of amino acids that helps teeth remineralise and look sparkly.
3. Monitor your body language
How you sit, stand, laugh, listen, tilt your head… nothing you do during a first meeting goes unnoticed. As such, your body must be communicating the right messages.
True, gestures can be both conscious and unconscious, so you might not even be aware of the negative signals you’re conveying. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to improve your body language.
You can start by always facing people while speaking to them and maintaining eye contact. Also, listen attentively when someone’s expressing themselves. Oh, and just in case you’ve forgotten mum’s posture advice: sit/stand up straight and don’t slouch!
4. Watch your words
Always pay attention to your speech, your chosen words, and how you’re saying things. For example, if your conversations are peppered with negative expressions and profanities, it’s time to stop.
Bad words cause more harm than good. And worst of all, they can adversely affect you and your business. Remember, manners maketh man.
Similarly, look to ensure that you’re not being overbearing and talking all the time. The key to effective communication is to give and take, which means you ought to listen as much as you speak.
5. Be authentic
Insincerity is never a good look, whether you’re trying to make a sale or meeting someone for the first time. And that’s because people generally want to feel that they matter and not being taken for a ride.
As such, resolve to ditch the pretend smiles and instead engage with honesty and genuineness.
One way you can do this is by projecting confidence and conviction while putting those around you at ease.
Direct selling, especially, is a business that’s built on trust. So if you’re pretending to be someone you’re not and putting on airs, you will be found out eventually. And that’s going to be bad for both you and your business.
Put your best smile forward
Yes, strong relationships are built on many factors. But it bears keeping in mind that first impressions endure. So keep these tips in mind, and look to approach every new meeting with professionalism, grace and a great smile.