First, and Last, Impressions Count


If I were to list a group of numbers, have you look at them, then ask people to try and remember them, chances are that most people would remember the first number, the last number and any unusual numbers on the list. For example if I listed all two digit numbers but also put a three-digit number there, a great majority of people would remember the first, last and the one unusual three-digit number.

Several mnemonic training and visual perception studies have proven that we humans have predictable remembrance patterns. To boil it all down:

  1. First and last impressions are the lasting ones. Typically all other impressions are of a secondary importance.
  2. The most unusual impression, the one that is most out of the ordinary, will be remembered.

Customer's first impressions, last impressions and their most unusual impressions of your store, church facility or organization are the ones they will retain in their memory for the longest period of time.

Try this excercise. Leave your store or other organization and get a cup of coffee. Take a book or some music along so you can clear your head a bit. I know it's hard, we're all busy, but give it a try.

Now, when you return, don't park in your usual spot. Park as if you were a customer. Walk into the front door. What do you see? What do you hear? You have just done what every customer does when they enter your facility. What were your first impressions? Don't waste time thinking about it, what were your first impressions? Did you see clutter? Was the window glass dirty? We're the people engaging? We're they shouting a unemotional welcome from over 20 feet away?

You probably work very hard to make the majority of their impressions very positive during their visit, but if it's the first impression that stays with them, why don't you spend a good amount of time trying to make that brief moment positively memorable?

Next, turn your attention to the last impression. Is it a smile? Is it a "thank you"? If you are a retailer is your point of sale area clean and neat? Are your restrooms clean? Have you checked what's right next to the door? It's one of your most important areas and opportunity to make a lasting impression.

First and last impressions communicate a lot to customers. The best retailers and other businesses who have walk-in trade take the time and energy to make sure they are positively memorable. Those memories, stick. Good or bad.

I'll talk about the extraordinary moment in my next post.


One Response to “First, and Last, Impressions Count”

  1. Kay Cementina says:

    Thanks, Wayne! I’ll use this with my sellers of real estate as we stage their entry and back yard. It’s good advice for any industry!

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