First impression… how is yours?

Every time we meet someone new, we make a first impression of some sort. Once we realize that this is a fact, we can be aware of how others see us. This is true in our personal lives as well as our business lives. This post will focus on the business side of things.

Let’s say that you’re a business owner, or maybe you’re in sales. Either way, you represent a company, and a product or service that must be sold, in order for your company to exist. Different companies have different strategies for getting their message out to the masses, and I may have a biased opinion, but I think that printed material plays a large part into the way that companies are initially judged.

Here are a couple of scenarios:

You have a meeting with a prospect, one chance to make your first impression. You make your introduction, present your business card, and make your self comfortable for the next part of the meeting. You make your pitch, and have a great meeting, you feel great about it! It’s time to get the heck out of there before you talk yourself out of sale. You shake hands, and let your prospect know how much you enjoyed meeting them, and you leave… Speaking of leave, the only thing that you had to leave with your prospect, was your business card. I sure hope it was special!

Let’s say that your prospect is one of those folks who never purchases anything without talking to three potential vendors. Now let’s say that one of those vendors, your competition, has invested in their first impression. They have had pocket folders and ad slicks printed up, and the pocket folder has some snazzy embossing or foil stamping on the front. This dude doesn’t just hand his business card out, he nails the prospect with a nice hefty package. This is the sort of collateral piece that says, “Look at me, I’ve been here a while, and I’m serious about my business.”

So your prospect has had a couple first impressions, and now they have to get back to what they do best, which is what we all do best… make money for our company (unless your company is a non-profit). So a couple days go by, and the first impressions are getting a little fuzzy with all the busyness of business… you know what I mean. So now it comes time for your prospect to make a decision on the new vendors that they have been “interviewing”. The prospect retrieves all of the information that was left with them. Your business card gets a glance, but the prospect picks up the pocket folder, kicks their chair back and settles in to read your competition’s literature, not to mention checking out all of the full color pictures in their trifold brochure!

What can you do to improve your first impression? Invest in it! Of course you printing isn’t the only thing that contributes to the way that people judge you. You should dress professionally, take care of your hygiene, be polite and helpful, just to name my personal top three.

If you think that you can’t afford to have your company’s sales materials professionally printed, think again. Call your local commercial printshop (stay away from the internet printers, they only care about your money, not your image) and ask them for their advice. Let them know what your budget is and ask what options you have within your financial limits. Your local printer will have several options for you. Go see them and let them help you make a great first impression. Your competition won’t know what hit ’em!

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2 Comments

  1. Posted May 4, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Derek,

    Appearance of all your materials is critical to the image your company portrays. Great advice to anyone thinking of going the cheap route on business cards.

  2. Posted May 4, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Thanks for the support! The next challenge is to educate customers that looking good is an investment, and that it pays you back.

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