If you had just a few minutes to make a lasting impression on a client, what will you do differently? Whatever you do, the resultant effect of your engagement will either be a win or loss? How best can your interaction with the client earn you a lasting relationship or graduate to signing a contract or making sales? How do you create a positive impression at a first meeting and gain a client forever?
Perception is everything, so are first impressions. It takes only a few seconds for a person to decide what they think or how they see or feel about you in a first encounter. Would you consider some tricks that can earn you a client’s attention, and maybe loyalty with added revenue from your products or service delivery?
Here are 7 ideas you can adopt to create a memorable first impression on a client:
According to John Maxwell, “when an opportunity comes, it is too late to prepare.” Preparation means being professional. This means being a walking epistle of your brand. You must be able to state and interpret your vision and mission statements without being caught unawares. Your product or service was invented to solve a problem, you should know about this and communicate it. Get yourself acquainted with the basic formulations, distribution, and success stories already associated with the brand. Rehearse and keep practicing till you get them right.
Preparation is showing up early, remember punctuality is the soul of business. Preparation also involves researching the client you are scheduled to meet. This will help you find a common ground in your conversation and show the potential client you care. Preparation reduces anxiety and helps you display more confidence. Your clients will be able to filter your inconsistencies, therefore coordinate your speech and body language as one who knows his onions. If you get it right by being prepared, you might just win a client, be it an elevator pitch or lengthy presentation; whether you meet in the office, field, walkway, hangout, or mall.
Be a good listener
As much as you are ready to pitch your brand, product, or service, be sure you show interest in building a relationship with the client, and not focus solely on selling your brand. If you succeed in winning the attention, interest, and trust of the client, you stand a chance of getting him interested in what you are selling. Give allowance to get you’re your potential client to talk about him or herself. Don’t hold back a nice compliment about their appearance, and make it real. Listen to any questions or concerns and be willing to answer to the best of your knowledge and give referrals when necessary.
Being present involves connecting with your potential client. Whatever your findings are when you have researched him, it is time to bring them to the table. Be sure to retain the client’s name and use it as you discuss. Maintain eye contact, study the demeanour of the intended client and act warmly. If he is boisterous, step up your energy to meet his. If he is relaxed, you should be too. Keep up a smile to brighten the atmosphere and create the right mood for a great discussion from the beginning to the end of the meeting.
People can tell when you fake things or act unreal. Try not to brag or exaggerate. Do not talk too much about yourself and loud your achievements, rather market your team and organization with passion. Don’t overrate your brand either. Having statistics or data as proof of your brand’s status in the industry or sector is an advantage. If there ever was a setback, admit and tell the story of your come-back. If there is one thing you should not do, do not falsify records. Remember, that technology has advanced and information and data are better accessible and available in this age. If your client does his research well before this encounter, you may have just lost a potential client.
Imagine meeting someone for the first time with a rumpled shirt, rough hair, and deconstructed tie? How will you react? You are the first brand a potential client sees and it takes just a moment to determine if you have made a positive or negative impression. Visual or Oral, perception is everything. Look good, dress well, smell nice, and be sure your breath is fresh. If you check these boxes right, you will surely attract a client and buy more time with him, but an appalling appearance and personality are likely to repel a potential client. What’s your choice?
Paying attention to details is an attractive skill. Your subject matter should be clear and concise, and void of stutterings. You may have a photographic memory, but you must take notes. With fast-rising technology, you can excuse your phone to avoid distractions. Except you meet a potential client in an unscheduled moment, you cannot excuse having a notepad to write important points from your conversations. Taking notes is a sign that you are listening and will follow up after your discussion.
Documentation of salient points could also be a reference that will be needed soon. It won’t be bad to send an e-mail of key points or the minutes of your meeting and anticipate the next line of action. What other better way to recreate a memorable impression on a client?
Although your meeting is a professional one, don’t keep it strictly business and act sternly or overly poised. Whether or not, the potential client has decided to ride with you, show that you appreciate the time spent together. Remember to reiterate a comment or compliment, and bring your sense of humour to play. Create an impression that you would like to catch up again and be reassuring both in speech and mannerism. Your vote of thanks is as important as your opening speech. You open the possibility of a good reconnection for you and the brand you represent when you end the meeting on a good note.
Since you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and a good one at that, whether it is a planned meeting or an impromptu one, staying prepared as a professional is vital if you must create a memorable first impression on any client.