There are thousands of articles that review the various factors that impact your first impression. More times than not, in today’s marketplace, we make our first impression over the phone or the internet – which is a substantially different scenario than previous generations encountered. Salespeople in particular risk botching their first impression before they ever even speak to their prospects. This means now, more than ever before, we need to pay close attention to our appearance – both physically and virtually.
Social media changed the game of first impressions. The easiest way to ensure your prospects are seeing the best version of you is to carefully monitor your online presence. As we are already on the topic of social media, we’ll start there. Review all of the photos of yourself that are on all social media sites. This includes everything from LinkedIn to Twitter to Facebook. Of course there are other sites as well, so Googling yourself is always a great strategy as well. If you were a major MySpace user back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, then you may have some images out there that you’ve don’t even remember posting. If you have photos that don’t showcase you in a way that you are comfortable with, it may be time to revamp your online profiles. However, updating your images isn’t enough; you will want to review all messaging as well. Bios and job descriptions should all be proofed to make sure there are no grammatical errors.
Online activity is another piece of your virtual appearance that you may want to review. The line between our personal and professional lives is a blurred one. It’s no longer easy to separate the two. Years ago, individuals could choose to use their Facebook account for their personal lives and LinkedIn for their professional lives; however, as time has passed, this has become more difficult to differentiate. Unfortunately, your comments, blog posts, tweets and shares all paint the picture of who you are – or who your prospect sees. Make sure your activity tells the story you want to share.
The environment you are selling in is a transparent one. Just as you use your online resources to discover valuable information about your prospects, they use those same resources to discover information about the companies and salespeople they are entering into business with. First impressions are determined quicker than ever before, so make sure you have set the stage for greatness.