Talented Financial Professional’s 7 step guide to making the right impression
Research shows that you’ve got 20 seconds to make a good first impression. The next 20 seconds, 20 minutes or 200 minutes that you spend with your client isn’t really going to change their mind, it’s already made up.
So, how can you ensure that you create the right first impression? Here are 7 research-based, tried and tested, must-do’s to help you create the right impression of credibility and authority. There’s also a (verbal) bonus tip at the end!
1. A genuine smile
A proper, genuine and real smile; one that is made using upper cheek muscles, not your mouth muscles, to form crow’s feet at the edge of your eyes.Your client will feel and sense a fake smile in exactly the same way you do, so make sure yours is genuine.
2. A good handshake
There is nothing quite as memorable as a bad handshake!If your handshake is not vertical, dry and firm, you’ll create an impression of being either over-bearing or weak.Practise your handshake with a friend or colleague and ask them to give you feedback.
3. Professional voice tone
If you use a voice inflection at the end of a non-question, you’re using a tone of voice called uptalk, or 'valley girl'. It sounds like you’re asking a question even though you’re not – you sound unsure, not confident, and certainly not professional. Stop it now!
4. Good eye contact
There are 3 types of eye contact: professional, social and intimate.You should ensure you give the right type of eye contact to the person you are meeting with, forming a triangle between their eyes and lower forehead.Looking anywhere else could be deemed as inappropriate, and perhaps slightly creepy!
5. No hands in pockets
Remember when your mum told you to “get your hands out of your pockets”? Hands are a reliable trust indicator, so if you’re hiding one or both in your pockets or under a desk, you’re sending contradictory signals to your client.Keep them visible and expressive.
6. Face Front
You know how annoying it is when you talk to someone and they just move their head in your direction, but their body is facing the other way?It’s like they can’t be bothered!Make sure you don’t fall into that trap.To come across and genuine and interested, turn your whole body to face the person you’re speaking to.
7. Spatial awareness
Now, this isn’t to do with parking your car. It is to do with ensuring you’re at the best and appropriate distance from your clients.Too far away and you come across as distant, too close and you’ll come across as overly familiar. Be aware of furniture in your way, like desks or chairs, that can subliminally come across as obstacles.
Don’t ever thank a client for the meeting, or say you appreciate them taking time out of their day. Stop apologising for being a professional! Your Doctor doesn’t thank you for coming in! It automatically puts you at a lower level than them, and is not a good start. By all means say, “good to see you, come have a seat”.
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