Favorable First Impressions —Farquharson/Tedesco

Many moons ago, back
 when the doors to companies were unlocked and you didn’t have to go through a security background check and DNA sampling just to gain access to the lobby, there used to be an employee called “The Receptionist.” If you’re under the age of 30 you might want to Google it or watch TV Land for actual examples. We salespeople would drive up and park at the front door, strut inside, and shamelessly flirt in order to get the name of anyone in power. The first impression was as important back then as it is today, but since we WERE the first impression, personal hygiene and fashion sense were critical.

Today, bathing is less of a priority and beauty won’t get you as far as it once did, for in-person sales has given way to remote contact. Why? The door is locked. Aunt Bea lost her receptionist job in a downsizing and the powers-that-be are inside, hiding behind electronic blockades such as voice mail and Caller ID. But we, the American sales reps, are up to the task. We are strong and resilient. We will not be stopped, and we don’t need no stinking badges. So cue the fight music and let’s look at some options for creating a new first impression.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink,” the author talks about “thin-slicing.” That is, he suggests that we all make, in our words, educated first impressions. We get a gut feel for a person or a situation. Have you ever taken an instant liking to someone you meet? You can’t explain it, but that person has a certain, as the French would say, “I don’t know what.” Part confidence, part friendliness—there is something attractive that you can’t describe, but is definitely a factor.

Planning the Plan

In the new world of sales, there remains a need to create a plan for putting your best foot forward. Since we don’t have the face-to-face option like we used to, we offer three options for creating a first impression, circa 2010:

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or tj@tjtedesco.com.
Related Content