How the Psychology of First Impression Can Improve Your Bottom Line

first-impressiosAs a business owner, you know the value of giving to receive. The more you give your customers value, the more likely they are to become loyal customers and return to buy more of the same product and related products you have to offer. In addition, they may become so enthusiastic about your business that they frequently refer you to their family and friends.

Make a Good First Impression

Psychological studies have established a curious quirk about human nature—it takes only about a tenth of a second for someone to decide on whether they like you or not. A second is short enough, but a tenth is about as fast as the blink of an eye. It's a residual aspect of our evolutionary brain, where a tenth of a second decided whether or not you would escape the jaws of a saber-toothed tiger. What does this have to do with business? Quite a bit. You can take advantage of this evolutionary quirk to build an instant bond with a new customer.

How to Act Fast

While, of course, you don't have to do everything as fast as the blink of an eye, it's important that you do something significant in the first few minutes that you meet someone. You can smile, shake hands, and say something cordial, of course. However, this is pretty much what everyone else in business does. It's not a key factor in distinguishing your business from the competition.

One way to make a good first impression quickly is to give away a promotional gift whenever you have the opportunity. Perhaps, your moment could be something as exotic as giving away a promotional gift when standing at your booth at a foreign trade show exhibit or perhaps it could be something as ordinary as handing them a promotional item once you’ve rung up their purchase at a cash register or booked an appointment on their front door.

The Psychology of Promotional Gifts

The rule of thumb when giving away a promotional item is that it should be something that is relatively inexpensive to buy in bulk but that is perceived as high value. Most businesses make the mistake of giving away things that are quickly tossed away and then wonder why promotional gifting does not work for them.

Since the idea of giving away a promotional gift is that it creates a business conversion, here are five things to keep in mind to avoid giving away the wrong promotional gifts:

1. Avoid giving away gag gifts. You may think something is hilarious, like a horn for old people to use when crossing the road, but it might offend your customer.

2. Align your gift with what they are purchasing. If someone is buying a roofing contract from you, it makes little sense for you to give them an umbrella. It is a little too metaphorical. Does it mean that you are not sure whether they will need some additional protection after you're done fixing their roof?

3. Give away something that is useful. A pen, for example, is much more useful than a baseball cap. Some people will wear a baseball cap while others will think it looks silly, but almost everyone will use a nice pen. Since a pen is something useful, they will use it often. They will not only be reminded of your business name, but so, too, will anyone who watches them use the item. However, although pens are a good idea, they are used so often that the novelty has faded away and receiving a pen is not something considered highly valuable. Useful perhaps, but not valuable. What most people appreciate is something handy that they can use over and over again. When you buy promotional flash drives or other customized items for your giveaways, you endear yourself and your brand to the consumer in a creative way.

4. Forget about giving away something complicated. A software disk or a link to a downloadable productivity app may be considered too complex by some people, or they may like the idea but never get around to installing or downloading it.

5. Make it generic. The more specialized the gift, the less likely it is to have a wide appeal. For instance, a calculator may appeal to a financially-aware person, but be discarded by someone who dislikes any form of math.

Make it Sticky

The reason why the promotional gift business has flourished is because it works very well. Customers love to receive free gifts. It makes them feel valued. In return, they are much more likely to think of your business when they are deciding to buy the type of product or service you offer. Additionally, if someone asks them about it, they are more likely to refer you. The trick, however, is to be selective about what you give away. While giving alone has value, giving just the right thing creates an instant bond between you and your customer.

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