It's amazing what 4th graders can teach you about selling and why first impressions count.
Let me explain. Manatee County in South West Florida has an annual program
called Project Teach.
The program objectives include: to illustrate the importance of first impressions,
to explore the relationship between education and jobs, to provide a dialogue
between students and adults in different careers.
They invite 140 volunteers to spend an hour with all the 4th graders in the
county. As the class begins, each student is given a 3 X 5 card. They are asked
to write the answers to the following questions.
How old do you think I am?
How many children do I have?
What kind of car do I drive?
What kind of pets do I have?
What kind of fast food do I like?
What kind of education do I have?
What kind of work do I do?
Here's what I learned from the 4th graders.
First impressions count and are very influential. My appearance and actions influenced
how old they thought I was. First impressions are extremely important if you're
a sales person.
In fact their first impressions of me, gave a class of 30 enough information
to answer all 7 questions. Though not all students guessed correctly.
Here were some of their observations. No gray hair. Skinny. Spoke clearly.
Dressed nice. Looked professional. Liked kids. No wrinkles. Tall. Hair brushed
back. Good posture.
While some of their comments were flattering, especially when they were guessing
my age, I was just plain surprised by their observations because they were only
Imagine then what your sales prospects and customers are thinking and observing
about you during a sales call. Yikes! Never forget - first impressions count.
One student said he thought I drove a Prius because his father did. Another
student thought Burger King was my favorite fast food, because it was her favorite.
Half the class thought I was a teacher because I was talking to them in their
Several students did guess what kind of dog I have, what kind of car I drive,
my favorite fast food, the kind of education I have, and to my complete surprise
one student even guessed that I was a professional speaker.
All of this from a first impression - because first impressions count. It reminded me once again that, in sales,
we are all walking billboards. We have to pay more attention to what we want
our billboards to say about us.
Questions to ponder.
=> What kind of first impression do you create?
=> How can you change / improve your first impression?
=> What do you want your personal billboard to say about you?
I ended the program by giving them these 10 2-letter words.
"If it is to be, it is up to me!"
I also reminded the students that nothing in life is IMPOSSIBLE!
It's amazing what you can learn even from 4th graders - when you take the blinders
Sales tip - remember, in sales little things mean everything!
Speaking of "Little Things" I recorded a CD not too long ago "75
Little Things You Can Do To Grow Your Business."
If you need some ideas for your personal billboard, you'll probably find a
few here. http://tinyurl.com/75-little-things
Here's one more sales tip for you to consider. Now more than ever you must
focus on continuous improvement. You can avoid complacency by keeping your learning
bucket filled with new ideas.
Never stop learning about the selling profession - NEVER!