This is the most powerful part of the first impression series. This information comes from one of my mentors, Michael Cole, an icon in our industry. I learned about communication from Mr. Cole many years ago and have made a conscience effort to be aware of my communication skills. Michael taught me there are three parts of communication and each part delivers a message.
He says that verbal communication accounts for 5% of the first impression. Verbal communication is what we say, the words we use, and our vocabulary. He recommends we learn to deepen our vocabulary. Use words like healthy, high-gloss, smooth, and shiny. These are the words that get your clients interest; it gets them engaged.
Extra-verbal communication is the way you say it — your tone, pitch, and pace. This accounts for 35% of the first impression. Make sure you are aware of how your voice sounds and the rate at which you speak your words. Speak clearly, annunciate, and sound excited, positive, and self-assured.
Non-verbal communication is your body language, facial expression, and image. It accounts for 60% of the first impression. This speaks louder than words. Your client is judging you mostly by your appearance. Non-verbal statements account for the largest part of the first impression and you haven’t even spoke a word yet. With this in mind, we have to take many things into consideration.
When you walk up to your client, make eye contact, smile, say her name, and formally introduce yourself. Make sure you have a firm handshake. Nothing says high self-esteem and self-confidence like a firm handshake. “Hi Mary, my name is Jill. (shake hands) I’ll be doing your pedicure today. Are you ready to go back to the pedicure room?” Say your client’s name often, it lets her know she has your full attention. It’s important to mention the service you’re providing. There may be two clients named Mary in the waiting area. If you grab the wrong one, she may be wondering why you’re walking past the hair department and putting her in a pedicure throne.
As you walk to the pedicure area, be kind and complimentary to your client. Ask if you can hang her coat, offer a beverage, and help her with her belongings. Walk with her, leading her to your station. Ask, “Is this your first visit to (insert salon name)?” If she says yes, reply with “Welcome to (insert salon name).” If she says no, reply “Welcome back.”
I’ve have learned what I say and how I say it is important, but I have also learned that how I look is crucial to making a good first impression. I have revamped the way I dress. I now wear tailored, pressed professional clothes. I have my nails, hair, and makeup done. I’ve become aware of my breath and any aromas. All of these things help overall with good impressions. Take a few minutes to revamp your look and start making lasting impressions on new clients. That’s one more way to help you stand out above the rest and become the BEST!