Charles Hutchins, Columnists, V6I1

4 Ways to Make a Great First Sales Impression

“One of the easiest things in life is to judge others.” — Ernest Agyemang

My parents always told me growing up to not judge a book by its cover. On the surface, that seems like a great rule to live by. In fact, I took my parents’ advice to heart and I have really tried to treat everyone the same no matter what they wore, what they drove, or what they looked like. 

In the world of sales, I can tell you that salespeople get judged by prospects from the very first moment of contact. You, the salesperson, are critiqued on appearance, how you speak, hygiene, body language, etc. The rule of not judging a book by its cover simply does not apply to the prospect when dealing with salespeople. They are going to judge.

It only takes about five seconds for a prospect to decide whether or not they want to do business with you, making it imperative that you make a great first impression. Five seconds is very little time but that’s just how it is.

I am going to share what I do in order to gain the prospect’s attention and trust in the first five seconds. 


Studies have shown that when you smile at someone, they will instinctively smile back at you. It is a reflex and begins the process of getting the customer to like you. If you have a genuine smile that is welcoming, more customers will like you and trust you even more. 

Smiling will also put you in a positive frame of mind. Smiling is known to release endorphins that will brighten your outlook and you will be more welcoming, which will also do the same for the customer. 


Once with a prospect, I’m totally focused on their needs. I am asking questions, trying to gather intelligence on what type of shed will suit them best. 

I always try to dress nicely (you don’t have to wear a three-piece suit), usually a polo shirt and a nice pair of khakis or jeans. Once again, I am asking questions and answering questions with a sense of certainty, leaving no doubt that I know my business frontwards and backwards.


Ralph Waldo Emerson said that nothing great can be achieved without enthusiasm. Showing some enthusiasm with your prospects is a super powerful way to connect and get them activated. 

Now I’m not talking about waving your arms around and acting crazy—that will more than likely scare off your prospect. I enthusiastically inject positive things about the weather, or that my business is flourishing, and that I love what I do.  I let the prospect know that I am excited to work with them. 

Enthusiasm is contagious, and it is amazing how people’s attitudes change for the better when you are enthusiastic and focused in. Who really wants to do business with a negative person who couldn’t care less about what they do?


This is really important to do. If you needed to have a surgery, would you pick a doctor with three years of experience, or a seasoned doctor with 24 years of experience? 

Most people would choose the latter, and for good reason. This is why it is critical that you share the reasons about why you are an expert in your field. 

During this process, I share my 24 years of experience, my A+ BBB rating, my five-star reviews, and the ways that I take good care of my customers. Depending on how the conversation is going, I will also share stories about happy customers and how I handled situations, to build more rapport with my prospect. 

I strive to leave the prospect zero doubt that I am the most qualified person to work with in my industry!

Yes, you are going to be judged, and that’s okay. I encourage you to make a great first impression by smiling, being sharp and enthusiastic, and being perceived as an expert in your field. 

Let’s make 2020 the best year ever!  

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