Sizing You Up
A few Sundays ago, my wife and I went to a small Home Show south of Boston. We met with roofers and landscapers and talked about the work that we have budgeted for 2019.
On the way home, Allison made an observation about my interaction with the salespeople at the different booths. She mentioned how quickly I sized up each rep and that I seemed to communicate according to my read on their perceived credibility. It took me a while to understand what she was saying. It wasn’t criticism. She was simply noticing that I seemed to be coming to a conclusion even before I open my mouth. As I thought about it, I realized she was right. I think we all do it to some degree. We meet someone and very quickly process visual clues. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Blink, would call this “thin slicing.”
Consciously or not, customers and prospects will size you up based on a visual first impression. As they say, you only get one shot at this. While someone may have taught you to shake hands, meet someone’s eyes when speaking and listening, and perhaps even how to sell, it’s unlikely anyone taught you how to dress for success. Given the fact that people are making a quick judgment call literally within a few seconds of meeting you, this is a lesson you desperately need. Even if you have outstanding sales skills, you don’t need the additional challenge of overcoming a bad first impression.
Here’s a thought…
Spend some time at a clothier. That is, walk yourself into a reputable clothing store and ask for a lesson on how to address for business. Try on some different outfits (you might even consider walking in with your idea of what “appropriate” looks like for comparison’s sake). Have a look in the mirror and see what you think. Is this the person you would buy from?
At the Home Show, I desperately wanted to talk to these craftsmen about the image their printed material and booth graphics was presenting. While I found a few of them to be quite knowledgeable, their flyers and business cards wreaked of low bid or worse, home-printed.
Interestingly, I’m sure they were looking at me with similar observations. Farquharsons are not known for their home-improvement skills, as evidenced by the fact that I found the most valuable piece of information there to be the explanation of the difference between “Switched” and “Un-switched” plugs on an energy saving power strip!