Chapter 6

Creating the Right First Impression

Appearance, in particular how a salesperson is dressed, is important to 67 percent of affluent consumers.

—Factoid, 2013 APD Research

If you’re a coffee lover, you’ve probably patronized both Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts during your java-drinking career. I don’t mean to impugn anyone’s personal preferences, but which of these two establishments consistently creates the best first impression? I’ve posed this question hundreds of times, and the answer is always Starbucks.

Not every responder likes Starbucks’ basic coffee. However, the atmosphere of the cafes creates a strong (and warm) first impression. The ambience encourages patrons to stick around, spend money (not necessarily on coffee), and take a break from the day’s hassles. The staff is always pleasant, pleasant music is playing, and free Wi-Fi is available. It’s a simple but inviting atmosphere.

Obviously, what appears simple isn’t necessarily easy, or every coffee shop in the United States would create such an impression.

None of what Starbucks does is by accident. If you want to consistently attract people who will consistently pay nearly $5 for a cup of coffee and whipped milk (latte), every detail must be carefully considered—not to mention every rule and procedure, hiring decision, training program, and inspection of what is expected. Creating the right impression requires careful consideration, planning and attention to detail. It takes work.

What mystifies me is why some ...

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