Intentions and Decisions

An intention without a decision is just a wish!

 

8 Ways to Make a Great Impression

When you meet a new potential client, colleague, business partner, friend, or love interest, they judge you with in seconds. It’s human nature. We all tend to do what we’ve been taught not to do: we judge a book by it’s cover. This new stranger will see you and make any number of judgments about you, determining within 5-8 seconds, including but not limited to, whether you are:

  • Friend or foe
  • Attractive or unattractive
  • Likeable
  • Competent
  • Trustworthy
  • Someone with status, or a ‘loser’
  • Intelligent or an idiot
  • Someone with authority

In many cases this will happen within the first five seconds of the encounter, and there is a lot of truth to how that old deodorant commercial used to say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Are there instances in which you can do ‘damage control’ for a poor first impression? Sure, but that’s a street you just don’t want to live on.

I’m not going to tell you that there’s some secret trick to keeping people from making snap decisions about you in seconds. There isn’t. You can, however, develop an understanding of how to make this tendency work for you rather than against you.

In most cases, our first impression of people are far more influenced by nonverbal signals than by anything we might say. Depending on whose research you want to believe, nonverbal signals have 3-4 times as much influence as whatever you’re saying.

That being said there are a few definite ways to use your nonverbal behavior to make a great first impression.

  1. Smile. A genuine smile conveys good will, trust, confidence, and ‘approachability.’ Go here for an article on The Power of a Genuine Smile.
  2. Attitude. Be sure to adopt an attitude appropriate for your situation. Acting like a wise-cracking gigolo might go over at a costume party where the crowd’s a bit tipsy, but it probably won’t do you any favors in a board room.
  3. Make eye contact. People who can’t or won’t make eye conact are usually seen as shifty or potentially deceptive at worst, lacking confidence at best. Good eye contact also helps to communicate your energy, trust, openness, and confidence.
  4. Posture. Status, authority and power are nonverbally conveyed by height and how you take up space. Standing straight, with your chin parallel to the floor, shoulders back, conveys confidence, strength, and competence. See our video on the James Bond Walk here.
  5. A firm handshake. Don’t try to crush anyone’s fingers, but give a firm handshake with a smile and eye contact. See our article on The Power of a Good Handshake here.
  6. Lean in just a little. Leaning toward someone slightly when they’re speaking to you shows that you’re engaged and interested. Of course, be mindful of their personal space. Generally, give them 2-3 feet.
  7. Raise your eyebrows slightly. Throughout the world, this is a sign of recognition and acknowledgement, and helps people see that you ‘get’ what they’re saying.
  8. Relax. Sometimes, this is easier said than done, but the truth is we tend to make ourselves more nervous than we should be. If I’m nervous, I tell myself ‘Honey Badger don’t care!’ At the end of the day, one client can’t make me rich or poor. Maintain high intentionality, but low attachment to the result.

If you do these things consistently, you’ll have an easier time making a strong personal impact in those critical first few seconds, and have a much better chance of ‘deserving’ the opportunity to connect with the right people.

Charisma, Part 3 – Confidence

Another vital element of charisma is confidence. Charismatic people tend to be highly confident. After all, if you don’t seem sure of yourself, it’s pretty hard for anyone else to be sure of. Especially when you’re initiating contact or trying to sell anything directly as a person, how comfortable your prospects are with you

Darkfell.com - My Art and Fiction Blog

Passion drives competence

is usually more important even than price. For many companies and individuals price is usually about #6 on the list of priorities. Elite clients in particular don’t trust cheap. They also don’t trust insecure.

When you’re confident in what you have to say and what you have to offer, it’s easier to inspire others to be confident in it, too. Some questions that may help you clarify where you might be lacking confidence in communicating with others include:

  • How confident am I about what I’m trying to communicate?
  • Why does what I’m communicating matter to me?
  • Why should it matter to anyone else?
  • If I were 100% confident about this, how would I act?

One of the key factors in being confident is competence. If someone were to ask me to give a speech on composing Latin jazz for large orchestras, I’d be totally lost. On the other hand, if I’m asked to speak on comic art, sales, or leadership, I’d be as comfortable as a pig in mud.

Another factor is passion. Even some of the most bashful, nervous types come to life when they start talking about their passion. Is there such a thing as over-enthusiasm? Sure, but my personal philosophy with regard to most things is that I’d rather beg for forgiveness than ask for permission, and when it comes to enthusiasm, it’s safer to go a little overboard than it is to show up with the personality of a handle. Now, I’m not saying to fake it, but rather to let your passion for what you’re doing come out.

Indeed, passion often drives competence. When I sustained a bad frostbite of my drawing hand and couldn’t even write my name, much less draw, my passion for my art led me to practice with thicker markers and crayons, then a thickly padded ball point pen for weeks. In the end, the art at Darkfell.com improved by leaps and bounds.

I won’t ask how bad do you want it, but rather, ‘How much do you love it?’

-Sam

P.S. Here are some of my other articles on boosting your confidence:

Quick Tips to Boost Your Confidence

The James Bond Walk

The Power of a Good Handshake

The Power of a Genuine Smile

Some thoughts on attitude…

Attitudes, particularly the unproductive sort, can easily become excuses. Once we start to use an attitude as an excuse, it can easily become a firmly held belief, which for most of us is a pretty good substitute for truth. In fact, for many of us, it’s such a good substitute that we may very well persuade ourselves that our various attitudes and the perceptions that they create are in fact absolute, immutable truths. Such attitudes become mindsets, and dangerous ones at that, because they can direct us to make unproductive or even destructive decisions. The results of those decisions will then have a tendency to persuade us even further of the ‘truth’ which was, in fact, only a bad attitude in disguise.
Now, while most of us are familiar with the idea of a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ attitude, what we usually don’t realize is that positive or negative is really only relevant when a goal is affected. The fact that I hate McDonald’s coffee doesn’t mean a thing when I’m cooking paella. It has no bearing on how I’ll brown the chicken, or when I’ll sauté the garlic and onions, or any other part of the process. Thus, at least in regard to my paella recipe, my attitude concerning McDonald’s horrible-tasting coffee is neither good nor bad.
On the other hand, if take on the attitude that none of my current prospects wants to talk to me, then there’s a good chance that I won’t put in a 100% effort when I pick up the phone, or that I may even avoid contacting them altogether. In my first ‘Wall Street’ job, the managers would fire someone for displaying a bad attitude, and even if someone did manage to not get fired, there were other consequences. For example, sometimes a broker would get discouraged or frustrated and would say something to the effect of ‘they’re just not buying,’ and then leave the room for a while. In other cases, they’d avoid saying anything like that, but their ‘breaks’ would become more and more frequent, and soon enough, when they returned to their desk, they’d find a sign taped to the back of their chair. The sign displayed three letters: CPA. being new to the game, my curiosity overtook me, and I asked what this meant.
‘CPA’ stood for ‘Certified Phone Avoider,’ and while some might find what we did silly, no one wanted to be that guy with the sign on his chair. More to the point, the brokers who kept avoiding the phone didn’t open new accounts. Thus their frustrated attitude had a clear effect on whether they achieved their sales goals. This wasn’t because they lacked skill. They just weren’t getting on the phone. Quite a a few of them were, in my opinion, far better salesmen than I was at the time. However, I opened more accounts and did more business than they did, because I had an attitude that was the opposite of theirs. I convinced myself that if I had to come in earlier and stay later, or make twice the phone calls that others were making, I was going to do it. I would repeatedly say to myself throughout the day, “Somebody’s got to say ‘yes.’” Some days I worked from just past 6 AM to 10 PM, and sometimes made as many as 800 phone calls a day, or more.
However, while so many people in sales will say that it’s a ‘numbers game,’ that’s only partly true. I soon found out that there was much more to it than simply ‘pounding the phone.’ Good effort had to be put into each call, since we never knew if that next call was going to be that life-changing whale of a client, and at this particular firm, the senior brokers had some creative methods for attitude adjustment.
One of these would come into play when a new broker would start to get discouraged and their voice would drop in volume and their posture would slump a bit as the weight or rejection began to bear down on them. At this point a senior broker would take their chair away, usually saying something like, “You’re not getting your chair back until I can hear you on the phone,” along with a number of choice expletives. While this may seem a bit extreme, I decided to experiment with this myself and pushed my own chair away. How did this affect the outcome of my efforts? My lead generation skyrocketed, and I started opening more accounts. However, this wasn’t my turning point, and before I share that turning point, I should make a bit of a confession in my next post.

Have an awesome week!

-Sam

Questions to determine an uncommon client focus

Who is being under-served in your market? In every market, there’s always what I like to refer to as the wall-flower client. They’ve come to the big dance, they’re all dolled up, but for some reason they go unnoticed, or just don’t think their prospects are that good, so they keep to themselves. There is an abundance of people and organizations living with problems that they aren’t even aware can be solved, or working with vendors and solutions providers who are marginal or “good enough for now.” A while back, I met a very determined but frustrated young woman. She was getting started as an energy market, but was unsure of who to pursue as clients, because she had a lot of competition at the usual industrial targets like warehouses and factories. I told her to go after large auto dealerships, private schools, local arenas, community theaters, and a few other kinds of organizations that aren’t normally thought of as ‘industrial,’ but which have very high energy usage. She’s doing quite well now.

Do what others can’t or won’t do (or do well). In the beauty industry, the vast majority of customers just accept that a moderately priced blow-dryer is going to last maybe a year before it stops working. In most grocery stores, line-ups are usually a nightmare. Yes, people often accept some things as ‘the nature of the beast,’ but an incredible opportunity is in store for the person who realizes that doing one of these things even a little better can create a customer service ‘wow’ factor.

What are the shortcomings of your industry? Every industry has faults, flaws, and downright ugly nasty bits. Understanding the problems of your industry is the first step toward becoming the solution – and profiting handsomely for doing so.

What upsets your ideal clients about your industry? Now, there are some that just get clients mad as hornets. Think of events, products, services, and individuals who caused a controversy because the customer experience was so bad. These are usually indicators of any number of underlying problems waiting to be solved – sometimes for a lot of money.

The more precisely you can answer these questions, the more precise you can be in your marketing. This also means you can be more specific in your branding, as well.