Image courtesy of iStock

Words by Michael Brown | @mbrown_beauty

We may not like to admit this, but how often does a first impression about someone we meet, stay with us for a while, sometimes forever…

First impressions are lasting impressions. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, and it’s true: “You only get one chance to make a first impression” backed up by scientists saying that within seven seconds a person will make several judgments about who you are and if they can trust you.

Has that got your attention? Then read on. 

How you are perceived and your perception of the image you’re projecting can be two very different things. And more food for thought, also heavily discussed around this topic: your trustworthiness has little to do with your skills or competence and more to do with the initial impression you give when you first meet someone new.

Initially, these discussion points could sound a little harsh, but when thinking about situations in my life, especially in retail environments, my experience is that they are true!

As a sales consultant/beauty advisor, your body language, facial expression as well as your overall appearance (which should be tailored to the brand you represent) speaks more volumes in first impressions than your words.

It goes both ways

In my 10 years of working across many cosmetic retail floors in Australia, I was always a big believer in the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, relating to customers. Some of my biggest sales were from women that didn’t even appear to be interested in beauty!

Maybe it was their day off and they were makeup free? Maybe they were new to beauty and were looking for someone trustworthy to get their first glam on… who knows? And it’s not for me to create my own story.

The point is, give the same service and treat all customers the same, as you never know when that next sale, big or small, will come by and what leads to other connections and opportunities.

As much as you, the beauty advisor, will have your own private first impressions when approaching a customer, they will also be doing the same about you, but in possibly a slightly different manner… Fun, Friendly and Trustworthy are what a customer is usually looking for when it comes to beauty.

So, let’s think of it like this

You could have the most experienced, knowledgeable and informative beauty advisor on the floor serving potential customers. This person isn’t smiling, though…they look disinterested and as though they don’t want to be there. But when asked about a product they know their stuff, but deliver it with a ‘can’t be bothered tone’.

The other beauty advisor is smiling, looks busy, attentive and interested in what they are doing and is acknowledging everyone that comes into their floor space.

When approached by a customer, they are professional, and they start a conversation, fully focused on that customer, with eye contact – all traits that build trust.

I know which beauty advisor I would rather be consulting with, no matter how experienced they may be on paper.

Are you inviting?

Retail can be tough, I’ve been there. Slow days, long hours and sometimes, difficult customers… and, don’t even get me started on stock issues, but it’s all part of the journey and only you can change your mindset and how you let it impact on you and your day.

I used to like to keep busy and rather than just stand there, I loved playing a little game with myself which involved me acknowledging every customer that walked by. This could be as simple as a smile, slight nod of the head, or an actual “how’s your day?”

It feels good to be acknowledged. It can be seen as a symbol of respect, which leads to trust which therefore gives an inviting first impression, bringing us right back round to the importance, in retail, of a smile and genuinely connected attitude to everyone.

If you can take one thing away from this, it is important to have self-awareness and understand how others may perceive you when you walk into a room, or in this case are working on a retail shop floor.

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