The old adage says "you never have a second chance to make a first impression". Today, that statement may be more true than ever, especially in business. There is so much competition out there in just about every market. Consumers and business customers don't have time to waste on salespeople who don't hit the nail on the head early on in the relationship.
The manner in which you present yourself EVERYTIME you're in the public eye affects sales. Let's say you've joined a leads group. From the moment you pull up to the building, before you even get out of your car, you're on display. People are watching you.
They want to know if you're 1. On time, 2. Neat and clean, 3. Smiling, 4. Prepared, 5. Respectful, 6. Friendly, 7. Helpful, 8. Well spoken, 9. Informative, and 10. Consistent.
Your first impression lasts a long time. If you try a new restaurant and have a bad experience, you remember it and tell others about it 10 times more than if your favorite restaurant serves a bad meal. People tend to cut known associates and businesses a little slack, basically because if you're doing business already, you know that the company is out of character when you have a bad experience. Contrary, if you come into a group for the first time, looking to gain business and have others refer you, you'd better be on your game, in top notch form, and keep your attitude in check.
Asking someone to refer you, especially when that person has not utilized your services, is a big request and should be treated with a great deal of respect and gratitude. If the first impression you give is one of unprofessional ism, pettiness, or even spite, people will never back you with their reputation because they just don't have the time to cut you slack - there are 10-100 other companies out there that do what you do.
Why would anyone put up with a person who doesn't meet the list of ten ways of making a great first impression listed above. Just do yourself and everyone else a favor and be real and genuine when meeting people. It's easy to spot a fake because that quality (like rudeness, pettiness and unprofessional ism) come out in the work you do. It's easier to do it right and be happy about yourself and the work you do.