Greeting the prospect initiates your meeting is called THE 7 SECOND IMPACT.
It happens every time.
Prepare for the appointment, put on your most professional clothes, and meet the person who recently expressed an interest to buy what you sell. At the moment you greet the prospect, what happens at the handshake and why should you care?
This seemingly insignificant event that initiates your meeting is called THE 7 SECOND IMPACT. Whether you know it or not, it has an enormous effect on the meeting outcome. While there is little disagreement among researchers on the importance of that first impression, have you considered what actually happens?
More important, how to ensure that your impact is positive and persuasive?
In a study co-sponsored by Proctor & Gamble and Harvard Medical School, researchers set out to determine how quickly your prospect will form that critical first impressions. For better or worse, the first impression you form happens in 250 milliseconds; quicker then the blink of eye.
The listener, or the prospect you are about to engage, subconsciously assess you on three dimensions: Competence, likability, and trustworthiness.
What’s at stake in a few seconds that could alter the meeting outcome? The entire sale!
While the first impression is critical to establish the meeting tone, one other consideration in this modern world should not be overlooked.
Our first impressions are profoundly impacted by the visuals. Your dress, posture, and eye contact are key factors by which others quickly form their conclusions about you.
This interaction, and the manner in which others assess you is known as Executive Presence. What is it and how do you develop it?
In the 1970’s, Albert Mehrabian of UCLA did extensive research to understand the order of magnitude of verbal versus nonverbal communication. In his book Silent Messages, he asserted that 55 percent of communication is nonverbal, 38 percent is vocal tone, and only 7 precent are the words you speak.
The judgements others make about you occur at lighting speed. In other words, when you meet someone for the first time, “The body speaks before the mouth opens.” Even though you didn’t say a word, you have communicated.
In fact, my own research suggests that after the initial 250 millisecond impression, people continue to validate those judgements in the next 7 seconds.
Hence, The 7 Second impact is a leading indicator on whether or not you will be perceived positively or negatively. Getting successfully through these first steps is the best way to insure you’ll command their attention for the next several minutes.
Otherwise, if your prospect is disengaged from the start, they’re likely not coming back. Their attention is diverted elsewhere as you have diminished your own capacity.
Next page- The 3 pillars of Executive Presence that will help you form extraordinary impressions every time.