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“Apparently, human


beings don’t need


to know someone in


order to believe that


they know someone.”


–Malcolm Gladwell, in his article”The New-Boy Network” from his book, WHAT THE DOG SAW


     Astonishing confirmation of the news most of us know instinctively but probably never openly acknowledged has surfaced as a little tidbit of information in a remarkable new book from Malcolm Gladwell, the author of three best-selling books: The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers.

     A sale is made or broken in the first ten seconds!

    Gladwell doesn’t claim this. I do. Sadly I have no relationship with the man beyond being a great admirer of his brilliant writing skills, but I just finished this collection of his and had a hard time not bookmarking the thing beyond recognition. He raises the spectre that many new hires end up being ushered into businesses because they give great handshakes and eye contact and say the right first couple of words when they’re interviewed, regardless of how often or long they’re interviewed.

     Those of us who’ve spent careers engaged in sales and selling know this kind of responsiveness is what attracts customers and what closes sales. 

  •      SECOND #1, #2, and #3 of every sales encounter (which, if you think like most successful small business owners think, means: every encounter with every person every day . . . because when you run your own business, you must always be selling) is consumed with your smile, your appearance, your eye contact, your tone of voice, and your handshake.

  •      SECONDS #4-#10 are consumed with confirming or denying what the other person’s brain has taken in about you in those first 3 seconds. Skepticism usually leads to rejection  (or possibly some level of tacit approval, but not genuine receptivity).

     So, you’re in sales? Own or manage a business? Well, maybe it’s a good time to backtrack a bit and examine how you come across to others (especially strangers) in those critical  first 3 seconds?

     Do you communicate energy, enthusiasm, positiveness, good cheer? Do you just transmit these qualities like a reporter, or do you radiatethem like a tie-game coach at halftime? (No, not locker-room trash talk or yelling; radiating is all about inspiring and motivating.

     In the same context, is your handshake firm and sincere? Ask others to rate your handshake between a wet fish and a bone-crusher; it should be dead center between them; skewed to either end of that spectrum will cost sales . . . and friends.)

     The secret is one we all tend to forget or get careless about. It’s called (pssssssst!): authenticity. It’s a great thing to be true to oneself. It’s a sure bet to communicate/radiate your most genuine, most positive self to others at every opportunity. It will come back to you many times over in your life. It surely will make you more sales.

     Act like you mean it.

More importantly, mean it!



Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

2 comments so far

2 Comments to “WHY HANDSHAKES SELL . . .”

  1. […] someone sent me a video of a presentation given by one of my most admired and respected writers, Malcolm Gladwell (Blink, Tipping Point, What The Dog Saw, plus a zillion awards for his magazine and newspaper work […]

  2. […] insignia identifying him or herself as a veteran or active officer or recruit, extend your arm to shake hands, look her or him in the eye and simply say: “Thank you for your service to our […]

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