First Impressions Matter

First Impressions Matter a Lot to Your Customers!

The moment customers see you or speak to you, they begin forming their impressions of you. First impressions are mental snapshots you take when you first encounter a person or situation. They include a person’s looks and actions: general grooming and cleanliness, clothing, voice tone, attitude, and body language. First impressions matter; yet even when you present yourself well, customers may not form a positive impression because of preconceived ideas or biases. In those situations, you can change a person’s impression by speaking courteously and projecting a positive attitude.

When Sally took her mental snapshot at Bob’s, it did not develop well. Even if the employees were well-dressed and groomed, their lack of courtesy and poor attitudes spoke volumes. When they ignored Sally, they told her loudly and clearly that they did not value her as a customer.

The first step to making a good first impression is your appearance. When you do not have an appealing appearance, you can present an obstacle that blocks your customers from forming a positive first impression. You do not have to sacrifice your personal style to please others, but when you are at work you do need to make sure your appearance is fitting for your business. If you don’t, you may have to work harder for your customers to feel comfortable with you.

Wear the type of clothing that fits the character of your business. If you work in a fine dining restaurant, you will dress quite differently than if you work in a fast-food restaurant. When in doubt about what type clothing is suitable for your job, always lean toward dressing conservatively. Save your party clothes for parties. Save your torn jeans and old tees for hanging out with friends. No matter what type of clothes you wear to work, you do not have to spend a fortune on your wardrobe. Wearing well-fitted and suitable clothes will go a long way toward presenting yourself appropriately. It does not matter how much you spend; what matters most is how your clothes fit you and your environment.

Being groomed means your hair and fingernails are clean and neat; your face, body, and teeth are clean; your clothes are clean and pressed; your shoes are in good repair; your hair is styled; and your overall image is professional. Put all that together, and you present a groomed look.

You can wear nice clothes, be clean and groomed, yet still convey a negative first impression if you slouch, yawn, look bored, or have a scowl on your face. Body language includes your demeanor, facial expressions, and eye contact. Your body language may even be more important than your appearance, because it conveys your inner feelings and emotions. Whether you present an angry, bored, or friendly demeanor, it shows.

Hold your head high, and stand or sit up straight. When standing, keep your arms relaxed naturally at your sides or with hands folded in front of you. Keep your facial expressions friendly and make eye contact when customers come into your business. Smile as often as appropriate. A smile goes a long way in presenting a positive image. When you smile, you will not only make the other person feel better, you will feel better yourself.

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