Thursday, September 21, 2017

First Impressions and Building Rapport

(This blog was originally posted on May 17, 2016)

Photo by Rick Hustead

On Saturday afternoon, I wandered into a branch of MOD Pizza to check out their menu. I heard that their food is great but never eaten there. To be honest, I was initially put off by its cafeteria-style ordering system. Sure, it was one thing to walk along a counter and see/point at what items you want on your sandwich at Subway®, but I wasn’t feeling very warm and fuzzy about this set-up to order pizza. Especially since I planned to place a phone order and pick it up on the way back from the barn later in the afternoon. Unlike other pizza menus I was familiar with, the various toppings were listed and the diner could just pick and choose the ones that looked good. The price was determined by size of the pie as opposed to what went on top. There were so many options and the print on the menu was so tiny to read while wearing my contact lenses that I decided I couldn’t be bothered. So I picked up a take-out menu for future reference and decided to leave. Then something amazing happened.
One of the servers behind the counter saw me turn to leave and wished me a great day. Even though I was obviously not going to buy one of their pizzas, she was cheerful and gracious.
“Actually, I do have a question…” I said and headed back to the counter.
Within a minute (probably less), she sold me a pizza. I explained that I felt overwhelmed by all of the topping choices. I was already going into environmental hypnosis from the delicious aromas of the baking pizzas and the cornucopia of toppings available. The last thing I wanted was to have to consider the possible combinations of toppings when all I wanted was to order a medium-sized veggie pizza. Talk about experiencing the pain associated with a subconscious unknown.
No problem, the serve said. She reassured me that I could choose my toppings right then and call in the order about half an hour before I planned to pick it up. I could even wait to pay for it until I returned to pick my pizza up.
As I left the restaurant I thought about the factors that sealed that sale, as it were. Again, the stimuli in the environment—smells, sights, sounds—definitely played a role because I was going into a light trance the minute I walked through the door. The server’s enthusiasm and interest in helping me to have a great experience at the restaurant was evident throughout my visit, which relaxed me and probably facilitated the original sale. In a final gesture of ultimate “people” and rapport-building skills, the server happily chatted with me while I waited for the pizza to be boxed. We discussed the great special effects in San Andreas, which I planned to watch with a friend later, and the “fun” aspect of other movies starring Dwayne Johnson. I asked whether a custom pizza that one of the workers created and named after a manager—“The Salvatore—was a marketing strategy to tie in with The Vampire Diaries. By the time I left with my pizza, my mouth was watering and I knew I would be back for that “Salvatore” pizza.
Talk about a good first impression. And my first MOD Pizza experience was very good, too.

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit
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