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When you meet a customer, a lot is decided in the first few seconds.

More than you often think about. But how conscious are you about it?

Do you train that part of your sales?

Those of us who have worked in sales for many years have often heard about the importance of making an excellent first impression. We have experienced it ourselves. But why repeat it? Over 50% of customers’ decisions are based on your appearance and you as a person. Your potential customers must have a good impression of you before assessing your skills as an advisor and professional.


Our experience is supported by psychology and research, indicating that the first impression is formed within the first 20 seconds we meet another person. Think about it yourself: what happens when you meet a stranger for the first time? And what do you think? After only 20 seconds, most people will have figured out if they like you and trust you, both as a person and as a seller.

In addition, a significant part of your communication is your body language. If you have a body, you have body language! We believe that it takes more than just a few well-chosen words; in fact, many elements are evaluated in a few crucial seconds.

Smiling professional at her desk
Manager formidler idéer til ansatte til et frokostmøde


In sales, we have the classic model that helps us remember what is essential for a good start in a meeting with other people. The model is known as the 4 x 20 rule or simply the “20 Rule”:

  • The first 20 seconds – of the conversation, meeting, visit. Be calm and be yourself
  • The first 20 steps – as you approach the customer
  • The first 20 words – in contact with the customer
  • The first 20 centimetres – when facing the customer

If the contact is over the phone, it will be just as essential to have control over the first 20 seconds and words. It’s about tone of voice, tone, and word choice. Here are some examples of using the “20 Rule“ in different situations:

  • You approach the customer with firm steps
  • You introduce yourself in a simple and good way
  • You make eye contact with the customer and smile
  • You give a firm handshake and look the person in the eye
  • You welcome or greet politely and openly
  • You show clear interest and engagement towards the customer
  • You initiate a dialogue with some small talk – if it fits. Prepare what you want to start with


Be mindful of what you say, how you look, and how you behave. Remember that the customer evaluates you and your attitude towards him, then your product!

Spend much of your sales training on establishing the first good contact. Good luck making a trustworthy first impression.