The first impressions are important for
steering the course of future interactions between organizations and their
customers. Salespersons who can build
long term relationships by selling experiences above products will reap the
financial rewards in the future. Making money comes through helping customers
feel positive affectivity toward the company, the salesperson, and its products
in order to motivate them to seek future repeat of these positive experiences.
The very first impression will determine the future of the customer-company
Listing is important in creating the
right interactive impression on the customer. Listening helps employees understand
their customer and what they need. This is can be called impressions of
affective and cognitive empathy (Pryor, Malshe, & Paradise, 2013). It means
that listening to customers not only provides an impression that the company
wants to serve their needs but also allows for the accurate servicing of those
This accuracy can only come through a
focused effort to understand the customer’s desires and then matching the
product or service to those desires. Companies only have one or two chances to
leave a positive impression and build customer support for return visits. A
sales person who pushes too quickly for a sale without actually satisfying the
customer needs will either lose that customer at that instance or after the
customer reflects on the cost-benefit of their purchase.
With experience successful sales
professionals develop a cognitive structure that more effectively helps them
probe and complete sales (Evans, et. al. 2000). This structure is learned
through training, experience, and self-reflection. The success of sales
requires the salesperson to develop a successful approach to initial customers,
a battery of appropriate probing questions, the communication skills to
maintain interest, and the ability to solve the customer’s problem.
It is also important for salespersons to
understand how their customers cognitively experience things in order to create
a positive experience and feelings in customers. The brain naturally has more
negative receptors than positive ones (Halford, 2009). This means that it is
important for sales persons to have a positive disposition and continually seek
to find the upside to products and offerings. Reasonable positive spins
increase positive perception of the products and company.
Even though we know that fear and
positive emotions create motivation to sell it is the positive emotion that is
often the most beneficial in the first impression. Customers frequent a
business to feel good about them or remove a negative emotion. For example, a
female may buy a skin cream only because she feels a level of angst over a new
found wrinkle and aging process. This angst comes with a wide range of images
and impressions that product a motivation to not only frequent the business but
be very willing to buy the product.
A salesperson who can build a positive
first impression by creating trust, listening to the customer’s core issues,
and finding solutions is likely going to find a loyal patron. The selling of
the product is only part of the process as selling the positive experience is a
key aspect of creating customer loyalty. Such customers will seek to experience
those positive emotions each time they buy a product or frequent the business.
Tips on Positive First Impressions:
-Positive body language, tone, and
-Show empathetic concern
-Encourage the customer to talk
-Match products to needs
-Avoid quick sales at the expense of
Evans, et. al. (2000). How first
impressions of a customer impact effectiveness in an initial encounter. Journal of Academy of Marketing Science, 28
Halford, S. (2009). Profitable impact:
how to make powerful, positive impressions. American
Salesman, 54 (4).
Pryor, S., Malshe, A.
& Paradise, K. (2013). Salesperson listening in the extended sales
relationship: an exploration of cognitive, affective and temporal dimensions. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales
Management, 33 (2).