Messages from the Masters
First Impression by Tom Hopkins

You are judged in the first 15-20 seconds when you first meet someone. Make a commitment this year to analyze your original contact when you meet people. I know you're familiar with the phrase: There is never a second chance for a good first impression. People judge you, first, audibly when you speak and then they look at you visually and start making judgments. We are part of a judgmental society. Therefore, you want to be sure you do everything in your power to relax people when they are with you. Not only relax people, but also cause them to want to be with you. 

There are several ways we can create a favorable impression. One of them is to smile. Smiling creates warmth. Work on your smile to make sure it is sincere and receptive. People will come back towards you the way you approach them. If you look grumpy or mad, that's the way they will feel. So always remember to smile! 

Another way to gain favor is to look people in their eyes. There's an old myth if you won't look at me I can't trust you. Is that true? I don't know. But if they believe it, it's true! 

How many of us have forgotten a person's name after we have met someone? I know I have! I've tried to be cute in my error and cover up by saying, "Now how do you spell your last name?" When the reply is J-O-N-E-S, I know I'm in trouble. I've since learned that I can avoid such embarrassment by repeating their names to myself four times when they give it to me. I make this a conscious habit and encourage you to do so as well. You'll be amazed by repeating the name how it will stick. 

The last thing is to be careful about the handshake. What do I mean by that? In sales, we have a tendency to believe that if we shake hands, we have started a real nice rapport. Not so. There are two facets to shaking hands. One is when, the other how. I teach that the proper time to shake someone's hand is for preplanned meetings only. If you are cold calling or popping by, the handshake is too forward. Only for scheduled appointments where the people you are meeting know your name, is a handshake necessary and proper. 

The second area, how, is just as important. To convey the highest level of trust, confidence and competence, you need to grasp the whole hand and give it a brief, but solid squeeze. It is important to apply just the right amount of pressure. Not too limp, and not too strong. This applies to both men and women sales professionals.  I was showing a husband and wife homes for an entire weekend. We finally settled on a home and went back to the office to begin filling out the paperwork. As I began filling out the form I looked up at him and said, "Should we put it down as Ron or Ronald?" He said, "Tom, I think Jim would make a lot of sense." That's a great way to lose any rapport you may have built!

You can receive more information about Tom Hopkins as well as receive 20% off his audio and book products by going to or calling 877-929-0439.

Provided courtesy of  Jim Rohn International