From the moment you meet someone new, there’s no turning back. In an instant, your hair style, clothing choices and facial expressions speak volumes. Your first impression is set in stone.
Studies show that you have a mere seven seconds to make a good first impression. Those seven seconds make the difference between appearing trustworthy or shifty. In business terms, a first impression can mean the difference between making a sale or not.
For HVAC technicians carrying out the EverRest methods, first impressions are vitally important. HVAC technicians who are in 4 to 5 homes a day have as many chances per day for positive (or negative) first impressions.
There’s a lot riding on that first hello, Rachel Campagna, assistant professor of management at the University of New Hampshire, found in her research.
“It’s not just an old adage, first impressions really do matter especially when it comes to trust,” Campagna said in her research. “During an initial interaction, one of the most important and immediate factors people consider about another person is trustworthiness. It can impact their willingness to accept risk and vulnerability and can help develop future perceptions and behaviors like cooperation, whether it be for work, negotiations or partnerships.”
Alex Viola, EverRest’s esteemed national trainer, agrees whole-heartedly with the power of great first impressions. In his training sessions, Viola stresses the importance of presenting as a “Day-One Employee” every day. That is, acting and looking professional, including being mindful of your appearance and bringing energy, excitement and enthusiasm to the job daily.
Viola suggests technicians follow guidelines as they approach a customer’s front door:
- Stand eight feet away from the door after ringing the bell
An eight-foot distance between you and the front door gives the customer enough personal space to feel comfortable and determine you are not a threat.
- Make your introduction and ask the customer’s first name
After introducing yourself and the reason for your visit (HVAC maintenance), ask permission to use the customer’s first name. A first-name relationship creates a more friendly and easy-going atmosphere.
- Get the financial conversation out of the way
To ensure the customer understands the financial commitment with the visit, establish a payment protocol at the front door. Simply ask, “Are you aware of today’s service charge?”
- Be the expert
Customers look to HVAC technicians as experts in the field. As such, technicians should maintain a professional demeanor and continually communicate with the customer. Remember to use an informative tone that is confident and not arrogant.
Ultimately, the goal is to make a positive impression that will drive customer business and referrals. But if missteps happen along the way, don’t fear. Campagna, in her research published in the journal Human Relations, found there can be a bounce back.
Campagna uses the example of a negotiation between a salesperson and buyer. If there is questionable trust in the first meeting, the salesperson has the chance to make amends in subsequent encounters by doing something nice for the buyer.
“That simple act is an opportunity to mend any negative first trust impression and may even strengthen it with actions like future referrals,” Campagna said in her research.
For more from Viola’s informative online seminars, watch them here.