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M3 Blog

You only get one chance to make a good first impression


We went to the Quicken Loans offices in Detroit recently to interview Laura Granneman, who will be the keynote speaker for Capital Area Women’s Lifestyle Magazine’s upcoming Inspiration and Influence Awards.

We were impressed by the atmosphere of the building. Bright, clean, professional … yet fun. Don’t get us wrong, the office was a very tightly run ship, we could tell the staff was serious about their work. But the overall vibe and flare just added to a positive overall experience.

Memes from the popular television show “The Office” adorned the walls, Big Head Cutouts instead of name plates on each cubicle – and great staff titles. Those were obviously there for the enjoyment off staff, but they sent a message. It spoke to us: “We want our employees to enjoy their jobs, and we want you to see how cool we are to work with.”

For example, what you would normally call the receptionist had a different title – “Director of First Impressions.”

It struck us. First impressions are indeed everything. When a meeting goes well, and everyone impresses from that first welcome to the last goodbye, you’ve done a fantastic job of showing customers they count and what your businesses is all about.

You only get one chance to make a good first impression.

But what if the first impression you give a potential customer or client is a big, fat fail?

What can you do?

Don’t walk away. Second chances are sometimes even more effective. You just have to recognize, rewind and reconcile.

So, you blew the phone call, the pitch or even the whole presentation. You’ve recognized it. Step one is admitting, as they say, you have a problem.

Now, rewind. What could you have done differently? What should you have said to close the sale, to build trust and gain a customer?

Finally, reconcile. An apology, a phone call, a heartfelt “I think we could have done better” goes a long way. How do you do that?

Make it right. Ask for a second chance and do the work you didn’t do right the first time.

Send a package, flowers or a creative gift. Gain their attention, look them dead in the eye and knock their socks off.

Follow up. Build trust. Make a good second impression and keep making them. There’s no room for complacency in a competitive market, but there is plenty of room to make a better impression.