The 3 Minute “Love” Rule

Many people intuitively size up potential mates within 3 minutes of their meeting. Which gives us a 3-minute window to find lasting love. Could that also apply to advisors and clients?

What does it mean if it’s true?

It means our first interaction, from the welcoming smile on our face (or opening email), to that initial handshake, to how well we listen, is screaming a message to the client. Make it the right message.

It means our visual—how we appear to the client—matters. A lot.

It means that fees aren’t everything if someone really wants to work with you. You don’t have to be the cheapest option.

It means if we mess up the first 3 minutes, we might as well pack up and go home.


  • mark

    I agree about the visual entirely. Have you read Blink and the idea of thin slicing? I think the impression your collateral and business materials, invoices, proposals, everything!
    I have some stats and samples posted here that you might enjoy:

  • Rochelle Moulton

    Thanks for sharing your samples, Mark. Blink is a fabulous book on multiple levels–I really enjoyed his discussion on how we make snap decisions, based on many hours of honing our craft….

  • Richard Brody

    Simple & to the point. You might enjoy reading my blogs at:

  • Ray Keefe

    Hi Rochelle,

    I thought it was worse than that. 4 seconds for the first impression which is 90% visual, then the rest of the first minute to either recover from a bad first 4 seconds or reinforce a good first 4 seconds.

    Time to reflect on this a bit.

    Ray Keefe
    Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd

  • Nancy

    You are absolutely right on! In my practice, I combine image consulting with personal coaching to help my clients reach their goals. I start with their image for exactly the reason you stated. It does no good for a client to set goals and make a plan if their image projects negative messages.

    Nancy Harris
    Metamorphosis Life Transformation

  • Rob

    Hi Rochelle,

    You make a really important point. As someone who prefers to operate at the high end of the fee scale it is critical to optimize perceptions. This can me a fine balance between projecting confidence, but not over-confidence.

    So many times I have had to present to Senior Executives who seriously question how "someone so young could charge so much". Distorted perceptions, but reality in their minds.

    The key here is to project the right mix of authority (without arrogance) and deference (without sycophancy). It's a challenge that I don't get right every time, but really enjoy.

    Best to you,

    Robin 🙂

  • Poly Endrasik

    Hi Rochelle,
    Probably one of the most beneficial courses I took through my career, maybe life, was a Dale Carnegie course which concepts blend nicely with your blog. Those first few minutes and how you focus on your client are crucial to trust / success.

    Thanks, all the best and God bless.

    Poly A. Endrasik Jr. =];-)
    Video / web conferencing consultant
    Green Smart Consulting LLC

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