First Impressions: What you say is just as important as how you look.

introduction, StoryBrand
Will Rogers was right – you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Especially a good first impression.

A good first impression is more than how you look. Yes, combed hair, clean clothes, and no food in your teeth are important. But a great first impression is also about what you say. And how you say it.


Everyone knows one – the person whose “short” introduction goes on forever! It includes every service they can possibly do for you.  As in EVERY – SINGLE – THING!

A big clue that your introduction may be too long (or boring), is how often or how quickly people check their phone. Ouch.

Every time you give your introduction look at your audience’s eyes. Are they making eye contact? Do they look unfocused? If so, chances are good they’re thinking of their next meeting. Or what they’ll be having for lunch.

Unfortunately, most business people think this is the only way to get new customers. They believe their professional introduction needs to share EVERYTHING their business can possibly do for potential customers. Just in case the listener needs that “one thing” they didn’t mention.

The cost of a boring or lengthy introduction is win or lose. Win a customer or lose a customer.


Technology has drastically lowered our attention span. Your website has 3-5 seconds for the page to load and another 3-5 seconds to draw your visitor in. If you missed it, here are 3 Keys to Improve Your Website Effectiveness. For face-to-face introductions, you have between 30-45 seconds – one minute at most.

Just like a website, the best way to grab your audience’s attention is to talk about a problem they have. And how you solve that problem. Then how your solution makes life better.

For an HVAC business, start with a problem like uneven heating. Then how you solve it – redistribute warm air appropriately. Then how that makes life better – lower heating bills AND a more comfortable house. That’s an introduction I will pay attention to! And I’ll remember you when I get fed up with the uneven distribution of air in my home. Or when my mom or friends complain about their heating bills.

“But Diane, what if they don’t have that ONE problem?”

Okay, so maybe my problem isn’t uneven air distribution. Maybe it’s something I’m not even aware of. Like how having a clean HVAC unit, could save money on heating bills. And signing up for a regular cleaning makes life easier. So say that. But don’t talk about clean HVAC unit AND uneven heat distribution. Pick one.

That feels hard but it doesn’t have to be. Look at the cycles of your industry. In the HVAC industry,  talk about allergies in the spring: “upgrade your HVAC system to avoid allergies”. And safety during the holidays: “enjoy the holidays without worrying if your HVAC system will break down”.


Your introduction has to be clear. Don’t make your listener have to figure out what you can do for them.

Your company should have a standard elevator pitch or introduction and then talking points based on what your customer’s specific problems are.

For example, my standard introduction is: Business owners are overwhelmed by all the marketing choices. As a Certified StoryBrand guide, I help them create clear marketing that works so their business can thrive.

Then someone mutters, “My website is a mess!” My talking points prompt me to say: I understand how frustrating creating an effective website can be. There’s so little time to engage visitors. The clarity of the StoryBrand framework is geared towards this very issue. Let’s get together some time and talk about it.

Or maybe someone says “my emails don’t even get opened”. To which I’ll respond: I understand how frustrating that is. Email is a great way to directly connect with customers but how do we get people to open them? The clarity created by the StoryBrand process helps craft emails that are on point and increases your open and click rates. Let’s get together some time and talk about it.

The combined introduction takes about 50 seconds. And my listeners have the information they need. Without being overwhelmed.

Maybe no one says anything in response. That’s okay too. I usually pause briefly afterward and if no one says anything I add: If you’re tired of ineffective marketing, grab my card and let’s set a time to meet 1-1.

My introduction identifies an audience (business owners) who have a problem (overwhelmed by marketing choices) and my expertise (Certified StoryBrand Guide) and the solution to their problem (clear marketing) and what success looks like (business thrives). Then I add a clear call to action (grab my business card and schedule a meeting).

And it takes less than a minute and is on point so eyes don’t glaze over.


Still not sure where to start? Begin by answering these two questions:

  • What does your business do? Keep it simple, please.
  • How does that make the listener’s life better? Make a list for this one.

Then practice your introduction. I’m an extrovert so talking isn’t a problem for me. But I still practice my introduction. The more you practice, the smoother and more natural you’ll actually sound. That’s why good actors practice their lines.

If you’re ready to get an on-point introduction that will actually get business and give you a smiling audience, schedule a meeting today.

If this blog made you think of “that guy” or a business that needs clearer marketing, please share it on social media or email.

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