In all things, the first impression can make or break an opportunity. Whether it’s building a new relationship with an individual, starting a business opportunity. And there are so many opportunities for a first impression to be made, it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all. But how can you ensure that you are optimizing those crucial moments as often as possible?

Employee Networks

Many times the most important impression is the one your employees generate. And typically, employees have positive things to say about their organization’s promotional product items. Why is this important? Because an employee can do a lot to bring your organization new business, even if they aren’t a front line customer rep. Consider offering them items they can use in their day-to-day interactions outside the office. Useful items at the grocery store, luggage for their personal travel, jackets to wear to sporting events or running errands. But also think about how you can leverage their business network to generate new opportunities.

Second Time First Impression

Some things in life are black and white, especially when it comes to mathematics. First is always going to be first. Unless there is the unique second time first. There are times when you have a first impression to do with a person a second time around. It seems unlikely, or impossible, but hear us out.

                Second time with the contact, first time with the company

This may be the most ideal second-time-first-impression opportunity. There is a company that you haven’t been introduced to yet, but you have a former contact (whether it be a past employee or customer), who has moved into a position to bring you to their door. Your first impression still exists with the company – which can be huge, everyone from the front desk to the CEO is a first impression. And in this instance, you may already have a brand ambassador – your primary contact. Take special advantage of this, it is critical in crossing from prospective bidder to contract.

There is an alternative to the silver cloud above though – second time with the contact, and they don’t have a positive memory of your organization. Be the change they want to see. You have the background, you know what could have been done (or can be done now) to improve the relationship. Strike while the iron is hot and avoid losing out on a key customer with these ideas.

                And vice versa (second time with the company, first time with the contact)

This could go a million ways. The company was a former customer and for any variety of reasons they are no longer a customer. You may have a new primary contact, but everyone else stayed the same. You could find that everyone (from the executive members to your daily point of contact) has changed, but the brand is the same. Go in on a positive note, but be sure to analyze your situation carefully and take options to start the conversation off on how you want to make things better for them, to how your organization can help them move from point A to point B.

                Second time with the contact, first time they remember

It’s not always a bad thing to be forgotten. And it certainly doesn’t mean that your organization or your reps are “forgettable.” It could just be the time from the first intro to second has been so extensive, or maybe it was a fleeting introduction and your organization got lost in the masses. Either way, you’re back – and for a reason. Take this opportunity to be unforgettable.

Children’s Organization

Whether it’s sponsoring local youth league teams or donating time to a local children’s organization, community youth groups are a huge place to create first impressions. You can introduce your brand to parents, coaches, community representatives and more. This introduction can open the door to unexpected business, and business that didn’t require a lot of  your organization’s resources.

Build a First Impression Kit for Any Occasion

Making a kit for your sales and employee staff is crucial for making excellent first impressions. Including every day items like pens and mugs to one-of-a-kind items like executive mementos or items that give back will help you stand out from your competition.

Need help getting started? Reach out to your Staples rep (and don’t forget to ask them for valuable feedback on ideas), or visit to get started.

This article is part of a series titled Promo Buyer 101. This series is perfect for anyone who is just starting to buy promotional products for their organization, or is a veteran buyer but is looking for tips and ideas for branded merchandise needs. Check out the other articles in the series and be sure to share with your colleagues.