It takes three seconds for people to develop an impression—three seconds to decide whether or not they think you and your business is a suitable match for them. Whether you’re trying to gain the trust of a prospective customer or are hoping to make a good impression at your first client meeting, you have a brief window to sway their opinions for the better. As daunting as that may seem, a few small tricks will make those three seconds the best they can be.
Why Are First Impressions So Important?
Some people may not worry about their first impression, believing that they can win back a customer with a second chance. However, undoing someone’s first impression is actually quite difficult. One negative experience lingers in a person’s mind longer than ten positive moments.
Furthermore, most people don’t like to admit they were wrong, that maybe “they’re not as bad as I originally thought.” By nature, people stick to their stories, which means you need to nail that first encounter.
How to Make a Great First Impression
Earning a mental thumbs-up from your client is not a no-brainer as simple as “shower so you don’t smell.” Your appearance is important, but consider a few other factors before you step up to the front desk:
Be on Time
You may own the business, but consider this first encounter like an interview with you as the subject. Don’t keep any customer waiting, or they’ll question your reliability and organization.
Ingenious, right? Honestly, though, you want your customer to feel welcome, not like just another checkmark on your To Do list.
Forget about the traffic you sat through to make this meeting, push aside that fatigue because you haven’t yet had your first cup of coffee, and make your client feel important.
Connect with the Client
Find a mutual subject and divert to some small talk. Close the gap between customer and business, and the client will see that you’re about more than taking their money.
Use Marketing Materials
Though the client gets an impression of you, first and foremost, remember you’ve also got to make a good impression with your business. Show off some stunning marketing materials to prove to the customer you have a strong brand. With an even blend of customer connection and smart marketing, you’ll demonstrate to the client that you and your business are the complete package.
First impressions can make or break a potential client’s decision on whether or not they want to work with you. Second chances don’t come easily, so be sure you’ll never need one. Small gestures like smiling and asking about a personal hobby will help ensure a smooth meeting and a strong business front, so you won’t need to panic over every detail and action.