When it comes to jobseekers, first impressions are an essential factor during the hiring process. From their résumés and references, to their appearances and personalities, that first encounter has an enduring impact on perception and success. But, when it comes to first impressions in the sales and marketing sphere, products act as the résumé, while service portrays personality, making every element of the first interaction one that needs the utmost care and strategic forethought.

In today's digital age, consumers are more connected to messaging than ever, offering companies increased opportunities to reach current and prospective customers with relevant, targeted information in their time of need. From mobile to social media, prospects remain connected at all times, embracing the luxury of choosing whichever channel is most convenient for them, often using multiple channels simultaneously or seamlessly switching between those channels they prefer. But, with so many potential avenues for first contact, brands must be more vigilant than ever, as they must maintain a consistent message across platforms to ensure successful first impressions no matter the channel. 

Because companies, like individuals, only get one chance to make a first impression, they must understand what their prospects are looking for, and then make that experience readily available across channels. Here are three tips for laying the groundwork for successful first impressions and the benefits of being attuned to the customer's wants and needs: