We’re all aware of the value in making a quality first
impression. However, while your first impression is important, it’s
inevitably the lasting impressions that you will use in building
your future sales.
Lasting impressions can rise out of the simplest things. For
example, think about being out for the evening, dining at a fine
restaurant. The food is great but the server lacks manners or
personal hygiene, or you ask for more water and it never arrives,
or the waiter blames the kitchen help for not getting your order
correct. Although the food is wonderful, the experience creating
your lasting impression is terrible.
In our industry, while the product in the box might be exactly
what’s expected, the consumer’s lasting impression of the
experience lies in the hands of the kitchen and bath dealer.
Following are some ideas that can help put you and your firm in a
position to create that positive lasting impression.
First, it’s important that you keep your customers as the center of
attention. Though this may sound easy, it’s difficult to keep them
as the center of attention while you keep control of the selling
process. Do everything you can to make a positive difference in
their projects, and never give them a reason to feel the sale
killer of indifference.\
The best way to do this is to have a passion for your
profession, and to share that passion with them. I wrote in my book
Give Yourself a Raise Starting Today, you keep your enthusiasm by
giving it away. People love doing business with people who have a
passion for their work and know how to share it.
I believe it’s also important for a salesperson to visualize the
desired results prior to the event. This process will help keep you
on track, doing the proper things to bring the expected
Asking the right questions and listening to the answers from a
prospect remains a key part of the process. If you don’t do this,
or are not very skillful in this aspect of the sales process, you
will attempt to sell the client what you want to sell, rather than
fulfill his or her true needs. You end up trying to sell what the
customer doesn’t want to buy. The lasting impression of this
mistake is negative.
Instead, develop your sales process and polish it to a point
where your customer will feel it is unrehearsed. This creates a
comfort level between you and your client, resulting in his or her
trust in you, your company and your product. This, in turn, creates
a long-lasting relationship, one that will leave a positive
You must also actively take the leadership role to seek and
create opportunities with your customer, rather than passively
waiting for something to happen and then reacting to it. As long as
you do it right, and don’t come off as being too pushy, your
customer will enjoy your leadership in guiding the project to
success. With all of the frustrating situations that can occur
during a remodeling or a new construction project, proper
leadership will create a positive, long-lasting impression.
Other ways to create positive impressions include the
- Ask for their time, make good use of it, and then thank them
- Keep on task with perseverance. While it’s difficult, it will
pay off in the end.
- Keep things as simple as possible for your customers. We’re in
a complex industry, and they will become frustrated if you get them
- Have patience it’s a virtue. Development and successful
completion of a project will most often include some elements that
are beyond your control. Instead of trying to control the
uncontrollable, tend to things such as returning phone calls, being
punctual with your commitments, getting your information accurate
and being personally accountable for the success of your customer’s
Maintaining accuracy is another way to create a long-lasting
positive impression. Our industry provides a lot of opportunity for
mistakes, and many of them surface in the face of the consumer. At
the end of a project, even if most things go well, the consumer may
remember the errors and even magnify them in their lasting
Delivering on expectations in the customer’s eyes is the judge
and jury of our quality of work. It isn’t unusual for the customer
to have greater expectations than we’re aware of, and the
inevitability of this is that we fall short. This may be the result
of a misstep on the part of the sales/design person, who
intentionally or unintentionally built expectations beyond what can
be delivered. Regardless, any time consumers don’t have their
targeted expectations met, they will feel over promised which
results in negative feelings. While consumers may or may not
articulate their feelings, their lasting impression is less than we
To prevent any of these issues from getting in the way of a lasting
good impression, there are several steps you can take. First,
follow-up on the job to ensure that you have done everything you
need to do to deliver what was expected of you. Second, explore the
feelings of the customer to see if there are any lingering
Additional explanation or attention will most likely dissolve
them. Your final act on a project is to thank the customer for the
opportunity. Then, be sure to follow up in six months to add
additional assurance that you have developed a happy and, perhaps,
a repeat customer one you can feel comfortable with when you meet
in the future, one who is your ally, who will say nice things about
you and create referrals.
While all of the previously mentioned suggestions don’t
guarantee your sales success, they will improve the likelihood, as
well as the profitability, of success.
I was prompted to write about positive lasting impressions this
month because I know they work. Recently, a new prospect came to
our company, and the people were motivated to come our way because
their parents have positive memories in dealing with our company. I
know I’ll really be dating myself now, but their grandparents
almost 30 years ago also had positive memories.
Remember, always start by creating a great first impression.
But, keep developing your skills to ensure that you have done all
that you can for your customer, so that the client will have a
wonderful experience and positive lasting impressions.