Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Art of The Handshake

I read this book about Barbara Corcoran several years ago, before she changed the book title to be a little flashier! Barbara started a real estate company in New York with $1,000 dollars she borrowed from her boyfriend. Around 2003 she sold her company for a boat load of money-I really enjoyed her book and learning about her tenacity. But there is only one thing that really sticks out in my mind-the time she met Donald Trump. She went to his office to meet him and hopefully generate a big deal. According to her, when Trump shook her hand, it was like a dead fish! From that point forward she did not trust him. Before you take your team to a sales presentation practice shaking hands-seriously! It is one of the first impressions that "the committee" will remember and be sure to look them dead in the eye when you are shaking their hand. Men expect a decent handshake from other men. Firm, but not too firm and don't pump my arm off! Women get cut a little more slack in this area but a woman with a great handshake is an awesome differentiator so do practice. I know it's a small, picky item but in this day of intense competition at sales presentations-it could be the difference.
PS While I'm on the subject of first impressions-make absolutely, positively sure that your fingernails are spotless and well groomed. The same goes for your shoes. Have a great sales presentation!

Steve Mertz
First Impressions are Huge

Tags: Barbara Corcoran,Sales Presentations


Blogger Rajen Devadason said...

Dear Steve,

Thank you for the incredibly valuable information here in your Presentation Skills blog. Each time I stand up to deliver a speech, there's always the possibility that an audience member can channel 10 times more business my way than the organiser is paying me for speaking.

But when it comes to parting with hard-earned money, people tend to go with their gut and only later justify with their heads. My experience suggests their gut is often influenced by my ability to connect with them at a deep level. What I've learnt from your blog has helped me enormously, in that rather vague but vital department.

Thanks a lot.

Warmest regards,

Rajen Devadason

9:49 AM  
Blogger Steve Mertz said...

Rajen-Thanks for your kind words. All things being equal, people do like to business with those they know and trust. Thanks for your first hand experience! Steve

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Gavin Ingham said...


You're so right about the handshake. As someone who shakes hands with hundreds of people every month I am constantly amazed by how many people try and destroy rapport before we have even spoken.

People form instant and unconscious opinions about you based on tiny things... crushing, pumping or caressing their hand is never going to endear you to them!

8:17 AM  

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