Making an Impression, FAST!

Meeting people for the first time can be a daunting experience for some.

What did I sound like? What did I say again? What do they think of me? These are all questions that can float around in our heads after a first encounter with someone new. As a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) for Incept, first impressions are something we take seriously in our line of work, especially when we are often compared to telemarketers!

First of all, the differences between an Incept Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) and your run-of-the-mill telemarketer are vast. Our very top priority as Conversational Marketing™ Experts (CMEs) is to provide excellent customer service on our client’s behalves. We do this by taking a very literal stance on Incept’s service promise: to have productive conversations that drive meaningful results. A big part of creating a high-quality conversation also includes thinking, “Did that conversation strengthen the relationship with the donor?”

How quickly does someone make a first impression, though? In 2005, a Princeton psychologist named Alex Todorov, along with student researcher and co-author Janine Willis, had people view a microsecond of film of a political candidate. The research subjects actually ended up predicting with an astounding 70-percent accuracy rate who would win the election just from that tiny bit of tape. This tells us that people can make incredibly accurate snap judgments in a tenth of a second.

Don’t let that discourage you, though! If you are involved in the blood donor recruitment industry, and use telecommunication methods as a way to recruit, here are some tips on making a first impression that is favorable right off the bat. These tips also can help really anyone involved in customer service or other telecommunication industries.

Creating a Lasting First Impression with Your Donors

  • Be ready for the call. So you already know that first impressions can be made almost immediately by someone. It will help your efforts if you are immediately ready to start speaking as soon as the donor picks up. Not only does it give you control of the call right off the bat, but it conveys a very important (and often overlooked) sense of professionalism, as well.
  • Ask your point of contact how their day is going. Most people are intimidated by meeting new people and botching a first impression due to their fear of what type of response they will get. The easiest way to lay a positive foundation for your call is simply to ask, “How are you doing today?” Little questions like that can help you create a sense of caring with your donor in a bigger way than you might think.
  • Emphasize through voice inflection. You only have a small window once a call starts to make your impression and emphasize why you are calling, so make those words count through your voice inflection. Having voice inflection with your donors not only highlights the big points of why you are calling, it also keeps your donor interested in what you are saying. This is another way of not only making an impression stick, but also controlling the call.
  • Not every call with be a close. But next time might be… If every call I made was an appointment, my job wouldn’t really require too much skill. That obviously is not the case. Above everything – even above getting an appointment from a donor to donate blood – we want to provide consistent and excellent customer service to the donor, even if that call does not result in an appointment. First impressions are good to start with, but we aim to create lasting impressions with the generous folks we talk to that transcend our phone calls. Remember, the most important thing you can do to create a lasting impression off of a first impression is to make sure your conversation is strengthening the relationship between you and who you talk to. Who knows? When you call back again, they might be inclined to sign up because they remember how you treated them and their needs during the last call.

Remember, creating a first impression is usually about getting the attention of who you are talking to in a quick, efficient and friendly manner, but ultimately that first impression is the stepping stone in creating a relationship between your business or non-profit and your targeted audience.

How do you create a first impression with first-time donors?