Seven Seconds to Make a First Impression

At Montgomery Enterprises, we continually stress that our goal is to provide better customer service than any of our competitors…championship customer service.  I recently read an article that stresses the importance of first impressions that I wanted to share with all of you.  The moment a potential customer sees you, his or her brain makes a thousand computations: Are you someone to approach or to avoid? Are you friend or foe? Do you have status and authority? Are you trustworthy, competent, likeable, confident?

And these computations are made at lightning speed. Researchers from NYU found that we make eleven major decisions about one another in the first seven seconds of meeting.

In business interactions, first impressions are crucial. While you can’t stop people from making snap decisions – the human brain is hardwired in this way as a prehistoric survival mechanism – you can understand how to make those decisions work in your favor.

First impressions are more heavily influenced by nonverbal cues than verbal cues. In fact, studies have found that nonverbal cues have over four times the impact on the impression you make than anything you say.  The way you listen, look, move, and react tells the other person whether or not you care, if you’re being truthful, and how well you’re listening. When your nonverbal signals match up with the words you’re saying, they increase trust, clarity, and rapport. When they don’t, they generate tension, mistrust, and confusion.

So, the next time a new customer walks in the door, remember that a good first impression will allow you to exceed that customer’s expectations and allow you to provide championship customer service to that individual for years to come.


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