Creating a Great First Impression

An article by Ian Graham of Swayed Greyhound on how to be confident in front of customers

Rather usefully I’ve recently had an experience which makes a perfect story to share with you about the importance of first impressions…

I live in small market town in Northumberland and for as long as I can remember there has been a distinct lack of decent food and drink establishments in the town centre. You can imagine the buzz when a few new bars opened. The business which generated the most excitement was a hotel which cost £750,000 to refurbish and looked really good when it was finished.

My first visit was for a lunch with my fiancée and to my amazement, instead of greeting me, the staff seemed to be hiding and looked terrified. I managed to grab the attention of one of them, “Hi” I said “Are you serving food?” “Uh-huh” was the reply, to which I responded “That’s great, this is our first time here so what would you recommend?” to which he answered “I like the lager me” – he said this in all seriousness and my instant thought was “I’m not eating here” and we didn’t and haven’t since!

We often like to go out for lunch on Saturdays so how much money has bad service cost this new business just from our custom alone? How many more people have had the same experience? How much money has the business lost out on?

When a customer walks into a business you have an opportunity to create a great first impression, and often, this is can be your one and only chance! Even if you’re terrified you need to extend a genuine welcome to all customers. Confidence is a huge contribution to this and although we might not always feel this way we can learn to give the impression of being confident.

This is what I do:

I use an exercise I created called ‘Plus One’. This is the mental switch in your head that puts you into ‘confident mode’ or helps you get your ‘game face’ on. I use it to motivate myself but you can call it whatever is comfortable to you and apply it in any way you want as long as you’re aware of what you’re doing.

We do this physically by thinking about our posture, our level of eye contact, the way we smile, how we use our voice, our appearance and even silly things like taking a deep breath just before we engage with people.

Mentally it can be achieved by thinking about a time when you were really confident and trying to remember what that felt like, keeping your spirits high and staying positive. Try avoiding negative people, be mindful of your own negative thoughts and avoid the potential negative assumptions you can make about your guests. Knowing what you’re talking about helps a lot too.

For those in the know this is called an NLP Anchor.

Receiving a genuine welcome is very important to customers and can have a huge impact on their overall experience. What you give out you get back, so, next time you find yourself with a customer, check how genuine and welcoming you’re being. If you’re not use Plus One!

Have a confident day


P.S. To find out more about Plus One visit