Businessman Giving out CardCame across a new website I had never seen before – this site allows employees and applicants to rate the companies for which they work and/or apply to. It is a fabulous tool for the job applicant to determine if this company is a desirable fit or not. Builders, have you checked out your company to see what is being said about you?

We all know that first impressions count. First impressions will either entice the prospective employee or the looking prospect to come in closer or to leave as quickly as possible. Considering the challenge it is today to attract top-notch sales professionals or qualified prospects, we must make doubly sure our first impression is a great one.

How do we create a great first impression?

  1. Be on time. Nothing will take the gilt off the lily faster than being late to an appointment. Being late tells the prospects they are not that important.
  2. Be yourself. Another thing that is a turn off is plastic or forced joviality. Be genuine in your manner, in your tone of voice, in your smile.
  3. Be appropriately dressed. Today is all about being genuine and being real, but your “realness” at the expense of proper clothing is not a plus – it’s a major deterrent. Just as being on time tells the prospects they are important, being appropriately dressed for the occasion lets them know they are valued. After all, we put on our best clothing in honor of a special event, so why would we think dressing less than professionally would honor our prospects?
  4. Smile! A genuine, warm smile not only acknowledges prospects, but invites them in.
  5. Be positive, courteous, and attentive. A positive mental attitude will show in your face, in how you talk, and even in how you walk. Also, turn your cell phone to silent. Don’t interrupt those first few moments of bonding by looking at or answering your phone. That definitely tells them whoever is on the phone is more important than they are.

After making a good first impression, what then? How is your reality positively affecting your customers, your employees, your business?

Adam Savage on TLC’s Mythbusters has a saying, “I reject your reality and substitute my own.” The following is a story about how a small company rejected the reality of the present difficult times and created their own success.

A landscape gardener ran a business that had been in the family for three generations. The staff was happy, and customers loved to visit the store. For as long as anyone could remember, the current owner and previous generations of owners were extremely positive, happy people. Most people assumed it was because they ran a successful business. In fact, it was the other way around.

A tradition in the business was that the owner always wore a big lapel badge saying “Business is Great!” The business was indeed generally great, although it went through tough times like any other. What never changed however, was the owner’s attitude, and the badge saying “Business is Great!”

Everyone who saw the badge for the first time invariably asked, “What’s so great about business?” Sometimes people would also comment that their own business was miserable, or even that they personally were miserable or stressed.

Anyhow, the “Business is Great!” badge always tended to start a conversation, which typically involved the owner talking about lots of positive aspects of business and work. For example:

  • The pleasure of meeting and talking with different people every day
  • The reward that comes from helping staff take on new challenges and experiences
  • The fun and laughter in a relaxed and healthy work environment
  • The fascination in the work itself, and in the other people’s work and businesses
  • The great feeling when you finish a job and do it to the best of your capabilities
  • The new things you learn every day, even without looking to do so
  • And the thought that everyone in business is blessed because there are many millions of people who would swap their own situation to have the same opportunities of doing a productive, meaningful job in a civilized, well-fed country, where we have no real worries

And the list went on. No matter how miserable a person was, they’d usually end up feeling a lot happier after just a couple of minutes listening to all this infectious enthusiasm and positivity.

It is impossible to quantify or measure attitude like this, but to one extent or another, it’s probably  a self-fulfilling prophecy on which point if asked about the badge in a quiet moment, the business owner would confide, “The badge came first. The great business followed.”

So, what is your reality? Is it a positive, successful one?