7 Seconds - The Time it Takes to Fail [Infographic]

For realtors, it’s all about location, location, location. But for sales and recruiting professionals, it’s more about communication, communication, communication. 

If anyone can master the art of communication, it’s you. Your entire job relies on communicating the most value in the least amount of time across every interaction– what we call a moment of truth.

The moment of truth occurs over and over again throughout every professional relationship. Everything from how you approach the initial interaction down to how you handle a client conflict is a moment of truth that determines the perception of both you and your company.

Remember: Not everyone can win a customer, but anyone can lose one. 

Communicate your value by approaching each moment of truth with tact.

  • Your initial call or emailIf you don’t put in the time to research the prospect, why should they put in the time to respond? 
  • Making and meeting self-imposed deadlines - When you tell someone that you will get back to them at a given time and then fail to follow up, your credibility can and will suffer.
  • Your online presence - 75% of website users admit to making judgements about a company’s credibility based on their website (source: Forrester). If your company’s website looks dated and you don’t have a say in the design, focus instead on directing your prospects to a polished LinkedIn profile.
  • Handling a client conflict - As Bill Gates once said, “Our most unhappy customers are our greatest source of learning.” Rather than seeing an irate customer as a nuisance, see it as an opportunity to give them the best of yourself and your company.
  • Closing the deal - Closing the deal is often referred to as “winning,” but that does not imply that your client or candidate should ever lose. If you are winning at a client or candidate’s expense, how can your relationship evolve into a trusting, collaborative relationship?

But communication is more than the surface-level interactions.

According to Forbes, all assessments are made within 7 seconds.

In other words, anyone who said “don’t judge a book by its cover” was not talking about our profession. 

So yes, each moment of truth should be met with action. But more than that, each moment of truth should convey confidence, security, and assurance. Communication is more than just words:


  • Body language makes up about 55% of communication
  • Tone of voice represents an additional 38%
  • And words account for a mere 7% of your communication


No impersonal scripts, no letting a bad day interfere with your customer interactions, no pretending that your true intentions are not at least somewhat visible to the customer. With every moment of truth, your heart has to be in the right place. When it comes down to it: eye contact, enthusiasm (or lack thereof), and your overall demeanor will convey what your words did not.

The moment of truth has no room for do-overs. As the adage goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The best salespeople and recruiters are also the best communicators, and none allow themselves to fail when a moment of truth comes knocking.


Kate Jacoutot

Spire Workforce Solutions, 5575 Peachtree Dunwoody Road Northeast, Building C, Suite 240, Sandy Springs, GA, 30342, United States