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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Positive First Sales Impressions


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 relationship.

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 needs. 

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 language
-Show empathetic concern
-Encourage the customer to talk
-Listen intently
-Find solutions
-Sell experiences
-Match products to needs
-Avoid quick sales at the expense of long-term loyalty

Evans, et. al. (2000). How first impressions of a customer impact effectiveness in an initial encounter. Journal of Academy of Marketing Science, 28 (4). 

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).

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