Monday, July 30, 2012

Making a Great First Impression!

Making a Great First Impression!

It takes just a quick glance, maybe three seconds, for someone to evaluate you when you meet for the first time. In this very short time, the other person forms an opinion, fair or not,  about you based on your appearance, your body language, your demeanor, your mannerisms, and how you are dressed.

We make countless new encounters every day and with every new meeting, you are evaluated and yet another person’s impression of you is formed.  These first impression can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, making these first encounters extremely important.  It will set the tone for the entire relationships that follows.  

This is crucial to you and your business success.  People are watching you all the time and it is important to  know how to put your best foot forward each and every day whether it is in the work place, at a meeting or a networking event.  

With over 21 years as a top producing sales representative for various companies and industries; I learned early on that my best asset was me!  So I never took a first meeting or my ability to make a good first impression too lightly.  Here are some of my tips:

Be on Time
Someone you are meeting for the first time is not interested in your “good excuse” for running late.  Plan to arrive a few minutes early and allow flexibility for possible delays in traffic or taking a wrong turn.  Arriving early is much better that arriving late, hands down, and is the first step in creating a great first impression.  Being late can put an uncomfortable feeling in the air and a meeting should not start that way. 

Be Yourself, Be at Ease
If you are feeling uncomfortable and on edge, this can make the other person ill at ease and that’s a sure way to create the wrong impression. Your feeling uncomfortable can also create an impression on the other person that you might not be ready, knowledgeable or willing to discuss the matter at hand.   If you are calm and confident, the other person will feel more at ease too, and then you have a solid foundation for making that first impression a good one and building a relationship.

Present Yourself Appropriately
Your physical appearance matters.  All the time.  No matter where you are.  The person you are meeting for the first time does not know you and your appearance is usually the first clue he or she has to go on.  The other person may not want to do business with you or refer business to you if you can not look the part of a successful professional.  Now, that certainly does not mean you need to look like a model to create a strong and positive first impression.  The key to a good impression is to present yourself appropriately.  Appropriate dressing and grooming help make a good first impression and also help you feel “the part”, and also feel more calm and confident. 

A Word about Individuality
The good news is you can usually create a good impression by just being your authentic self.  Focus on your individuality.  And Yes, to make a good first impression you do need to “fit in” to some degree.  But it all goes back to being appropriate for the situation.  If the meeting is in a business setting, wear the appropriate business attire.  If the meeting is at a less formal event or location, consider business casual as the appropriate  attire.  The key is to show your confidence, success and ability and look natural at the same time.

A Winning Smile!
“Smile and the world smiles too.”   So there’s nothing like a smile to create a good first impression.  A warm and confident smile will put both you and the other person at ease.  So smiling is a winner when it comes to great first impressions and "breaking the ice."  It goes without saying, to be sincere and not "over do" it either!
Be Open and Confident
When it comes to making the first impression, body language as well as appearance speaks much louder than words.   Use your body language to project appropriate confidence and self-assurance.  Stand tall, smile (of course), make eye contact, greet with a firm handshake.  All of this will help you project confidence and encourage both you and the other person to feel better at ease.  Almost everyone gets a little nervous when meeting someone for the first time, which can lead to nervous habits or sweaty palms.  By being aware of your nervous habits, you can try to keep them in check.  And controlling a nervous jitter or a nervous laugh will give you confidence and help the other person feel at ease.

Small Talk Goes a Long Way
Conversations are based on verbal give and take.  It may help you to prepare questions you have for the person you are meeting for the first time beforehand. Or, take a few minutes to learn something about the person you meet for the first time before you get together. For instance, does he play golf? Does she work with a local charitable foundation?   Is there anything that you know of that you have in common with the person you are meeting? If so, this can be a great way to open the conversation and to keep it flowing.

Be Positive
Your attitude shows through in everything you do. Project a positive attitude, even in the face of criticism or in the case of nervousness. Strive to learn from your meeting and to contribute appropriately, maintaining an upbeat manner and a smile.

Be Courteous And Attentive
It goes without saying that good manners and polite, attentive and courteous behavior help make a good first impression.  In fact, anything less can ruin the one chance you have at making that first impression. So be on your best behavior!   One modern manner worth mentioning is be engaged in the other person, you might even want to turn off your phone.  What first impression will you create if you are distracted or worse .... start speaking to someone other than the person you are meeting for the first time?  Your new acquaintance deserves 100% of your attention.  Anything less and you’ll create a less than good first impression.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Plan for Success in Your Direct Sales Business

Success people plan their success because a failure to plan is just planning to fail.  More important than planning to succeed is however expecting to succeed.  Are you just in it or are you in it to win? 

What are your goals for your business?  What made you decide to join your company?  Is your business full time or part time?  Are you looking to make some extra money or are you looking to change your life and that of your family?   

Anything is possible with your Direct Sales business, the sky is virtually the limit.  You just have to decide what you want and make the plan to get it.  And a note of warning!  Be careful what you ask for because you will only get what you ask for.  So dream big.

When I joined my first direct selling company, I expected to achieve a management position with the company.  So I did, rather quickly.  I expected to earn a free vacation every year.  So I did.  I expected to be successful so I was.  I looked everywhere around me to find ways to be successful.  And it all started with a vision and a plan.

Many people approach life as if they have no control over outcomes.  And that is simply not true.  You control your actions; therefore you can control your own destiny.  Your life will change the moment you learn that.  

 "Expectations held over a period of time, either consciously or subconsciously, affect attitudes – attitudes affect actions.  Expectations function relentlessly, whether you create them for yourself or someone else holds them for you".  Paul J Meyer, The Dynamics of Goal Setting (Success Motivation International, Inc.)

Successful direct sellers know that planning is easier to do in direct selling than it is in other business ventures.  For one thing, it is realistic to expect to reach high levels of income and achieve high levels of success.  

We also know the benefit in having a proven system to plug int to.  We need only to adapt those plans and systems for ourselves.  It requires participation, action and some hard work at times.
Here are a few simple success principles:

·       Develop confidence in yourself.  Confidence comes from know-how and know-how comes from experience and experience can only come from doing it.  Don’t be afraid to share what you have to offer with others.

·       Develop strategy.  This is where planning comes in.  Ask yourself these important questions:
1.     What is my step by step plan for getting more bookings on my calendar? 
2.     What is my step by step plan for increasing my sales? 
3.     How will I do that?  What are my resources?
4.     What is my step by step plan to coach my hostess to a better party?
5.     What is my monthly income goal? How many bookings do I need to get it? 
6.     What are my plans for leadership?
7.     What is my step by step plan to recruit others to join the team?

·       Treat your business like a business.  Take 100% responsibility for the results you are seeing.  Create specific times and schedules to work your business effectively.  Give it the appropriate time it needs in order for you to accomplish your goals.  Remember your work has to equal your want.

·       Have expectations.  Don’t take a wait and see approach.  Develop a plan and work into it.  Create what you want, don’t wait for it to show up.  The most successful people have a hunger for what they do and possess a drive that helps them accomplish their goals.  You are one of those people.

·       Focus on bookings.  There is an old saying in Direct Sales, “no one goes out of business with a full calendar”.  Your party is where it all happens!  Product promotion and demonstration, customer relationship building, sales and profit, bookings for future profit, hostess coaching for better parties and more excited hostesses and recruiting for team building which can bring a greater sense of contribution and energy for the team and even a potential for greater income and professional development for you.

·       Fortune is in the follow up.  Being able to have a systematic approach to follow up and stay in touch with hostesses and customers is vital for your success.  Remember “no” may just be a “no, not now” not a “no, not ever!”  Always keep a list (and add to it) of hot leads or prospects.  Write a note to jog your memory about the last conversation you had with that person.  Calendar the date for follow up and don't be afraid to make that next call.

·       Keep your goals in front of you for maximum results and achievement.  Write them down. Hang them up, write them on index cards and keep a card in various places around the house and in your car.  Look at the card(s) before bed each night and first thing in the morning.  You will be amazed at how this imagery will kick start your subconscious mind into action, helping you to achieve whatever you set out to do.  

·       Be accountable to someone else for your actions and outcomes.  Work with your leadership team to clearly establish your goals as well as your action plan.  Schedule weekly coaching calls with your leader so that you can be held accountable to that plan and make progress towards your goals. 

Anna Gibbs is a Certified Business Coach and a Certified Life Coach with over 17 years of Direct Sales experience as both a top personal sales performer having achieved just under $1 million dollars in overall sales volume and a dynamic leader and recruiter.  For more information about Anna and her coaching services please visit