First Impressions

By: Dave Wright, Craftsman Republic®

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I know you think you make a good first impression because you are so great looking, wear the current popular clothes, wear your hair the right way, have a nice uniform, or you keep your tools clean. But have you thought about it really, from another person’s point of view? Do you really know what is important to someone else?

The first question you need to ask yourself is; When do you make that first impression?

Did you make your first impression on the phone while you were eating that hamburger for lunch, crunching into the phone, with all the background noise? Was it when the consumer saw you on the curb, changing your dirty shirt, smelling your armpits? Was it when you stopped in the front yard, on the way to the door, to answer the phone and finish your cigarette. Was it when you lied to the person calling and said, oh I have another call, when you didn’t. Was it the sum of all these things?

Do you believe that you only have one chance to make a first impression? Do you believe it is the sum of your behavior on an appointment that counts? Do you have a structured, planned, presentation or do you just ramble? Are you going to just be yourself, take me or leave me? All of this may be important enough for you to pay attention to the details.

The Phone Calls

It is ok to be busy, but you should not call unless your full attention is on the call. You should avoid noisy places, distractions, and be ready to take notes. I might hang up if someone called me to get information and then said, “let me find a pencil.” Do not tell a consumer your time is more valuable than theirs, but do tell them it is as valuable. Have you ever ordered at a drive-through only to have the person ask you to completely repeat the order? It is upsettingly disrespectful.

Never take calls from job sites. You can go to the curb and take them, out of earshot.

Never lie about your whereabouts. If you are at the game, say I am at the game. I have even heard toilet flushing while on the phone, it does not make me feel important, it makes me think of ech.

Never answer angry. I once managed a phone room, everyone had a mirror in front of them. If they could not smile, they were not to answer the phone. Technology today can detect stress in voices, and notify supervisors that it is not going well. They would not invest, if it was not of paramount importance.

The Curb

Many Consumers will watch out the window for your arrival. They will see your profile or outline, your body language, your car, how you drive, and how you parked. Did you do anything weird?

Here is a list of curbside don’ts:

  • Drive too fast or slow
  • Park crookedly
  • Squeal tires
  • Rev the engine
  • Park in the driveway
  • Drive a dirty truck
  • Have trash on the seat or floor
  • Have trash piled up in the bed
  • Act angry or yell on the phone
  • Throw things
  • Appear disorganized
  • Hunt for tools
  • Throw a cigarette on the ground
  • Look in the mirror too long
  • Flirt with a neighbor
  • Dress yourself
  • Pick your nose
  • Pull at your clothes

In general, don’t do anything that makes you appear unprepared.

At the Door

Knock first and step back, don’t be in a hurry or look rushed. Knock again.

If no answer, ring the bell. Remember to allow enough room for someone to come out and feel comfortable, before they invite you in.

If you have read my other blogs, you realize that stories entertain me. Long ago, while training a new salesperson from rural Ohio (I did not know there was a rural Ohio), we went to a dangerous inter-city area for an estimate and sales presentation. We walked to the door and he walked right in, no knock, nothing. I was left standing at the door. I did hear him yell “Yoo Hoo” and the name of the company. By the time I stepped in, he was looking in a closet. I was freaked when the Consumer calmly came in (It was a coat closet he was looking for an attic door).

Damned if he wasn’t from rural Indiana, where, due to the winter cold, it was customary that you entered the living room and yelled. They leave the front door open to keep from freezing their guests. I thought we might get shot on the first day out, but what he did was perfectly acceptable to the Consumer. The point is that I never again left this appointment step to chance and always made sure everyone waited to be invited in for sales or service after that incident. Train your people or send them out on their own to face the results.

Anyway, assume the Consumer has not looked out the window at you and that you are making a first impression. You are on time, your clothes are clean, you have the tools that you will need for this appointment in your hand, you have a towel to set the tools on, you are sucking on a breath mint, your shoes are clean and you have booties, and you wipe your shoes. In your hand is a list of questions related to the appointment, there is a look of concern on your face because you so badly want to resolve their issue, you are mirroring their concern, and above all, you are professional.

When I have people out to my home, I get greeted by a nod because the Contractor has not finished his phone call when he knocked, he was late because he was on a job, he talks rather than letting me explain what I need, his shoes are dirty and so are his clothes because he has been working, he lies to get off the phone and he walks past me looking for whatever he was there for, he has no tools and asks to borrow a pen, his phone rings and he looks and says “not important,” his hands are dirty, he begins making excuses for why he can’t do things right away, and then looks at the job and gives a price that appears to be a test to see how much he can charge. When I ask questions, he says, “I’ll take care of it” and tells me that I don’t want a permit on this job. Would you buy it from him? As he leaves, I see that he has a truck but no tools, no name, not clean, no nothing and I wish he did not know where I lived because I am sure he is an idiot.

If you believe that you only have one chance to make a first impression, act on it, have a plan.

Craftsman Republic has real jobs, so you can make a fine first impression on the job, because the Consumer has already decided on the Product. You can schedule the job, so you have time to clean up and make that good first impression. Register with us today.