Making a First Impression

This week I’ll be reviewing a Dell Vostro 130 (disclosure*), and asking that you participate with me via Twitter to share your wisdom about first impressions. We’ll be having 2 different Twitter contests, and I’ll be able to give away 2 Dells, one to a participant in each event. Read on (right after you follow me on Twitter.)

Update: A summary of just the contest info is here.

All my readers know I’m passionate about helping small businesses succeed. I write my Start-up Toolkit blog to give startups better tools, and I work with Wicked Start and write posts there regarding the 10 steps to take to start a company. And one of the key steps in starting or running a small company is to make a good first impression. Think of that impression as one of your  trade secrets.

The other day, we visited a deli that my wife’s friend started. She came out from behind the counter, gave us a big Italian hug and kiss, and proceeded to make our lunches a little extra special (Chicken Parmesan hero, but on Garlic bread instead of regular bread, mmm.) Meanwhile, customers came in and she and her husband greeted them by name. The ones they didn’t know, they were still friendly to, and I would suspect they’ll know they’re names soon enough. That first impression of a friendly neighborhood place will stick with these customers. But that’s only one kind of first impression.

Sometimes, you want to “wow” someone. Come up with something unexpected.  I received the package from Dell, and my first take was – Wow, a red laptop.

Let’s see how it unboxes:

What did I think of first?

The “Woman in Red” from the movie The Matrix (note: YouTube Link, not embed-able.)
The Matrix- The Woman in Red

Traveler's Red Umbrella

Photo via Living downtown DesMoines

Also, I thought of the iconic brand image of Traveler’s insurance, whose red umbrella used to be depicted in a sea of black umbrellas to stand out. Red makes us stop and take note. It makes us take a moment to consider what is wrong, what’s new or changed, or just registers differently in many of us.

It’s not the first time I’ve seen a red laptop, but hey, conferences and classrooms these days seem to be filled with a lot of silver screens, if you know what I mean.

Mac attack

photo via Flickr user criminalintent

Heck, I’m one of them – you can find me with a Macbook Air there too. However, I’m happy to see some competition in this market. One of the reasons I bought my Macbook was weight – I hate lugging around a laptop when I don’t need a huge screen, a dvd/cd drive or an all day battery. When I did that, this Dell wasn’t an option. Heck, based on what I can see, I could buy 2 of these Vostro 130 machines for the price of a decked-out Macbook Air, and they’ll both be more powerful computers.

I’ve been a fan of Windows 7**, and I’ve used a netbook, but the experience wasn’t optimal. Parallels and Bootcamp both have their challenges. This machine was made for Windows 7. I look forward to having a machine where I’m running it as the Native OS.

You can find out more about the laptop on Dell’s Trade Secrets tab on their Facebook Page or on the Work Beautifully site.

And so to the contest and rules.

1. From Thursday 2/24 at 8 am Eastern through Friday 2/25 at 8pm, the folks at Dell and Zócalo Group will be looking at tweets that are sent that include my Twitter handle, @howardgr, and the #tradesecrets hashtag***. People sharing their tips on how to make a great first impression will be eligible to win a Dell Vostro V130. Please only share one tip during this time for your entry. If you have more tips, see below.  (Please RSVP in my comments if you’ll join us for this)

2. On Monday, 2/28 at 2pm Eastern Time, I’ll be holding a Twitter chat, discussing the same subject. Anyone who participates during the time stated when we start, also using the #tradesecrets hashtag will also be eligible to win a Dell Vostro V130.  (UPDATE: Please RSVP in my comments and tweet it if you’ll join us for the chat – Sample tweet: ” I’m joining @HowardGR on Twitter on Thur, Fri, Mon to share tips + a chance to win a Dell Vostro V130 #tradesecrets “)

For both contests, the winners will be chosen at random based on the use of the hashtag and my twitter name during the time periods, and the choice will be made by the agency and not me or the Harbrooke Group staff (so no lobbying, I can not give you the computer). You’ll have to be following me on Twitter so I can send you a Direct Message (DM) about how to redeem your prize. We’ll announce the winners here:_______. (UPDATE: I’ll of course Tweet the winners publicly and will DM for details).

Contest rules at the bottom of this post.

*Disclosure – As compensation for running the contests and participating in the campaign, I will receive the evaluation unit to keep for my use. This comes to me via Dell and Zócalo Group. However, as always, my opinions about the product are my own.
**Further disclosure, I have some Microsoft stock as part of my retirement portfolio from my years of working there. I left in 2000.
***For the non-Twitter professionals: Using a hashtag is easy. Send a Tweet, and put the hashtag at the end: “Make a good first impression  by being friendly @howardgr  #tradesecrets” is boring but valid.
More legal stuff:

  • The Giveaway will only be open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, who are age 18 or older at time of entry. Officers, directors and employees of Dell, Zócalo, Harbrooke Group, and each of their respective  parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, manufacturers or distributors of Giveaway materials and their immediate families (parents, children, siblings, spouse) or members of the same household (whether related or not) of such employees/officers/directors are not eligible to enter.
  • Entrants who do not comply with the official rules/terms or who fail to provide complete entry information will be disqualified. In order to receive Prize, potential winners may be required to execute and return to Zócalo a Release and W-9 Form, as determined by Zócalo in its sole discretion. Potential winners who fail to provide complete and adequate prize delivery information and/or who fail to provide Release, W-9 form or other information or documents requested by Zócalo may forfeit Prize, as determined by Zócalo in its sole and absolute discretion.
  • Winner is solely responsible for any and all applicable federal, state and local taxes and other expenses in connection with the Prize.  The IRS has decided that the value received for the Prize shall not be considered a gift, and does not qualify as tax deductible charitable contributions. The Giveaway will be subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, and is void wherever prohibited or restricted by law.

11 thoughts on “Making a First Impression

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  5. The sure-fire best way to make a positive first impression is to open with a smile. And to look at people in the eye. Of course, a good looking red skin on an inanimate machine makes up for the inability to smile or look straight into the eye . . .

    Never thought I’d see the Travelers umbrella and The Woman in Red in the same place. Kudos for imagery and juxtaposition!

  6. Howard, count me in as always (one of these days I’ll win…). My best first impression is all about showing some personality: SMILE, be nice, pay attention, and then ask a thoughtful/insightful question. A great springboard to a real conversation.

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