As we’re talking in a lot of these episodes about things that you might plan on doing, whether it be for business or changing your career, starting a business, etc. Most of that will depend a great deal on how you are greeted, or how you impress or not, other people. That is, first impressions, and that’s what I want to talk a little bit about.
This came up because in a couple of recent events I’ve been to, the speakers were telling people and urging people more to take action, and you better be prepared before you do take action. I’ll give you a couple of examples of that. When you’re starting up, you’re going to immediately have and make first impressions on other people. You want to make sure that you are prepared. That doesn’t mean to procrastinate for a long period of time, but it does mean to find the best way to introduce yourself to the public, other businesspeople, customers, etc.
As an example, I very frequently have heard people and they’ve asked me about podcasting, and they would say: “Gee, I’ve been told that I just get started, and I’ll learn on the way.” The problem with that is the person first time they listen to you, they might listen to one or two episodes. If you’ve made a bad impression, they’ll never come back. It’s not like going to the corner grocery store and just because you saw a bad apple there doesn’t mean you’re never coming back, because that store is the one that’s locally convenient to you. You want to make sure that that impression that you make on someone is very strong and very good.
There’s a divergence, here. While other people will have a very quick first impression of you, you should be very slow on defining an impression of somebody else. I’ll explain that in a moment. First of all, it’s said, whether it’s 30 seconds, a few seconds, a minute or something longer, that a mental image is brought into people’s minds of you when they first meet, and it happens fairly quickly. We know that. Therefore, that first impression is extremely important.
Imagine that you’re a company and you have a product out there, and people have a bad first impression of you. During the late ’80s, early ’90s, Audi was the luxury car in demand for most popular. What happened? There was a series of articles and things about something called “unintended acceleration,” which today I still do not believe there was ever such a thing. A lot of the other luxury makers went and researched it, tried testing, etc., and nobody could ever find it. But that impression literally destroyed Audi at the time. They’ve come back now, and they’re now another very well-accepted car, but for so long they had suffered from that impression. It took many years, decades literally to overcome that impression that was made.
When somebody has an impression that you’re not open or that you’re not appropriate for something, you know it’s going to be very difficult to change their mind. That’s the importance of first impressions that you would want to put on others. On the other hand, when you hear something, slow down a bit and try not to cast judgment with such little information. Think of it this way: You hear about something, you think of it, and there’s seven things in favor of it and three things against it – if you absolutely determine: “Okay, this is good because seven in favor, three against, that’s a winner,” over time you may see other bits of information that make it look bad, but each time that information comes to you, you’re going to weigh that bad information against the entire decision you already made. It’s going to be very difficult to overcome it.
You want to be slow to arrive at a first impression, but very quick to realize that you have to make a very good first impression on others because they do arrive at them very fast. You’ll have an advantage if you slow your own decision down, but realize that others will have that very quick impression of you. This becomes very important, particularly in this digital age. Why? Because it’s so easy. You post something, and somebody doesn’t like it or somebody thinks you’ve said something bad about somebody that’s precious to them – they’re immediately going to have an impression on you. You have to be ultra-careful of that. Even though the first impression can be wrong, it is something that will be very difficult to overcome.
Think in terms of: If you think a product is of poor quality, they would really have to be around for a long time and have many positive reviews or positive things that you saw that would say: “Okay, this is a good product now.” It’s very difficult to overcome that. It doesn’t mean you have to be first; just do it well and do it better so that you can own a space in a particular market, whether it be the computer market, a digital space, like Volvo did with safety, like Tesla has just done with electric cars.
Take a look sometime as to how much care is given to the display in a Whole Foods grocery store fish area or meat area. Everything is put down very nicely, very precisely; very, very well-displayed. They’re realizing that part of their market is basically the impression you get when you start looking at that. As opposed to: There are some other grocery stores near me that I go into and the stuff is thrown down on to the ice, and it’s just scattered around – and yes, their prices are lower. It may be the same product, they may have even gotten it off the same boat, but that impression is the difference.
The impression you have on others will be the same thing for incoming business and the perception of you as a company. So your demand or the demand for you depends a lot. The easiest part is to get it right the first time, rather than try to correct it later.
Thank you very much. Good luck, and do go to my website. On my website I have a special report to help you plan and bring 2016 into focus. Remember: You cannot set, or have, or make a goal unless you can visualize it. So I want to show you one way to visualize it and how to bring that to life, so that you’re living it and thinking of that dream to help motivate you through 2016. Just go to www.LifeUnsettled.com/Dream2016.