The Norman Transcript

Local Business

September 19, 2009

The importance of creating great first impressions

First impressions matter, especially in the areas of sales and customer service. First impressions can inflame or disarm a dissatisfied customer, resulting in a severed or strengthened relationship. The choice is yours. Here is some food for thought.

We often refer to the brain as having two hemispheres: the left, largely responsible for logic, and the right, predominately responsible for creativity. This description fits what we know to be the cortex. However, there is a third dimension, the hypo-thalamus, which is in fact the brain stem and is solely responsible for instincts.

First impressions -- fight or flight

Bruno Catellani, of the Institute of Communication, Management and Sales in Switzerland, refers to the hypo-thalamus as the "Guard" or "Gatekeeper." The "Gatekeeper's' sole function is to decide whether you are a friend or a foe. It is incapable of thought or rationalization and reacts purely on instinct by how it perceives your approach. If your initial approach stresses the "Gatekeeper," it will switch on the fight/flight response. Part of this process includes shutting down all other message receptors, which means any opportunity you had to communicate has just been totally closed off.

Build trust immediately

It's absolutely true that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Building the language of trust is the first step to successful customer service, which translates into building sales. What would your business look like today if every customer who ever did business with you was still an active customer? What if 20 percent of those were raving fans? See my Norman Transcript article published Aug. 24, 2008: "Developing the Ideal Customer Experience."

Instinct kicks in first

Think about this next sentence. If the "Gatekeeper" doesn't think, does the initial "language of trust" have to be verbal? The answer is no. The first impression you deliver is based on instinct alone. The signals that you need to give out in the first 10 to 20 seconds are instinctive, i.e. your body language, which is translated by your movements, gestures, facial expression and eye contact. Is your body language open and relaxed or is it closed and tense? If you are sending an open relaxed message, your voice modulation and tone are calm, the speed of your speech is controlled and gentle. And finally, you must not invade the customer's space.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Business
  • Review: Apple's iPad not just a bigger iPod Touch SAN FRANCISCO -- After just an hour with an iPad, I came away with a preliminary verdict: Despite some flaws, this is one slick device.

    Steve Jobs intrigued me in his slow, showman-like presentation Wednesday when he said the $499-and-up iPad is "so much more intimate than a laptop and so much more capable than a smart phone.

    January 30, 2010

  • People in business Allyson Crank has been named employee of the month at First State Bank's Noble location.

    Crank, loan operations assistant/loan teller since June 2008, joined the bank's staff in 2007. A Noble High School graduate, she studied mathematics while attending the University of Oklahoma.

    February 15, 2010

  • Norman lawyer goes to the doghouse with beef jerky Norman lawyer and small business owner Dave Stockwell has been making private label beef jerky for years.

    He started off in his garage, but his passion for smoking and curing round steak has led to the occupation of a commercial facility in the Oklahoma City metro area.

    February 15, 2010

  • Moore passes $2M tax rebate for Target The City of Moore's Economic Development Authority voted unanimously Monday evening to approve a sales tax rebate to Target Corporation, who wants to build a 135,000-square-foot retail store on SW 19th Street west of Fritts Boulevard in Moore.

    February 15, 2010

  • Me? An idiot? Finance titles to raise your IQ Once you get past the hesitancy of buying a book written for dummies or idiots, you can get some very practical information out of the titles in these series.

    Penguin Publishers, provider of The Complete Idiot's Guide series, has dozens of business and personal finance titles.

    February 15, 2010

  • Claim your e-mail privacy Have you ever read a message on a postcard that was not addressed to you? It was right there, in the open, so, how could it have been avoided? Maybe, at least once in your life, you've held an envelope up to the light, hoping to read its contents.

    February 15, 2010

  • County real estate Real estate sales of $100,000 and above, as recorded by the office of Cleveland County Clerk, Tammy Howard.

    Feb. 8-12

    Lot 7, Block 5, Briarwood Creek, $165,000. Buyer, Jason and Lorie Wenger. Seller, Scott and Dawn Hubbard.

    February 15, 2010

  • Chamber of Commerce, Norman NEXT to co-host candidate forum Feb. 24 The Norman Chamber of Commerce Get Out The Vote Committee and Norman NEXT, Norman's young professionals organization, have announced plans to co-host a candidate forum for the mayoral and city council candidates.

    February 15, 2010

  • People in business Michael Mohr, owner of Mohr Construction LLC, has completed the required EPA certified training class in the Renovation, Repair and Painting rules that go into effect April, 2010, dealing with lead base paint removal and handling in buildings built prior to 1978.

    February 12, 2010

  • People in business DeBee Gilchrist recently announced that Blaine M. Peterson, Norman, has been named a shareholder of the firm.

    Peterson's practice encompasses a broad range of business matters, including tax planning and controversies, comprehensive estate planning and business valuation.

    February 9, 2010