National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) opening keynote speaker, Malcolm Gladwell, discusses the good and bad of rapid cognition in his book, Blink. He defines rapid cognition as the snap decisions we make when we meet new people, try new products, visit new places, etc. – moments that build our first impressions. Although Gladwell discusses the value of rapid cognition, he also notes that marketers should beware of acting on their first impressions when it comes to interacting with customers.
As much as we hate to admit it, we all judge others. Whether on purpose or not, we pass judgment on complete strangers based on appearance, clothing, mannerisms, etc. In your personal life this may be acceptable as it can prevent making the wrong choices about who you interact with, what products you buy, where you vacation, and more. Our every day decisions are typically based off first impressions. But when it comes to selling a product, every customer is important and its necessary to put your personal assumptions aside and give them the information they’re looking for.
Consider NECC for example – even among the chaos of the trade show floor, you still need to connect with your customers. Although it may be noisy and full of distractions, don’t let that take away from using that face-to-face time to provide current and potential customers with the service and information they’re looking for, and also as an opportunity to thank them for their business and ask what you can do to serve them better. Most of them have likely traveled a long way to learn more about your company and its products, and hopefully your service will prompt them to share your information with their colleagues and other leaders within the industry.
It’s also important to remember you’re creating a first impression of you and your company to potential customers, too. In order to grow your customer base, it’s essential to be enthusiastic about your company and its products, and to give your undivided attention to those searching for more information.
Above all else, its most important to remember this: when speaking to your customers, it’s not about your company’s latest bells and whistles, it’s about how your company’s products can improve their students’ learning outcomes.