Landing new clients is an exciting period for any business, and it will hopefully prove to be a rewarding professional relationship. Much like meeting anybody for the first time, you will always want to make a good first best impression so that you can build trust and show that you are the right company for their needs. Unfortunately, many businesses fail at this and do not put in the required effort which can quickly end the relationship. While it is true that some clients can be more challenging to impress than others, there are always a few sure-fire ways to show them that you mean business and that they have made the right decision by choosing your services.
How to Create the Best Impression to New Clients:
First things first, always do your homework on the client so that you understand exactly what their business is, who is involved with the company and what their needs are. This shows that you are actively interested in their organization, and you have already started to think about how you can help them. This information can (usually) easily be obtained from their company website and social media channels.
2. Connect Online:
In today’s internet-driven marketplace, businesses need to have a strong online presence and be active on social media channels. Check that your online pages paint your organization in a positive light and then connect with the client online (follows, friend requests, etc.). It can also be a handy tool for communicating and updating what you’ve been up to with your customers and employees. Ensure that whoever runs the social media pages regularly engages with the client’s posts and you could even announce your new client on your pages to show that you are proud of your new professional relationship.
3. Professional Environment:
Before inviting the new client in to meet, make sure that they will be walking into a highly professional environment. Have the entire office space cleaned from top to bottom, tidy desks and ensure that everyone knows that an important client is coming in so they should be professional yet friendly. Appearances count for a lot when it comes to first impressions (particularly in business), so take the time to make sure the office looks like a productive environment – this can also have a positive impact on employees!
4. Smarten Up:
Following on from this, take some time in the morning to put a little extra effort into your appearance. There is no need to go for a three-piece suit, but personal grooming and a smart look will speak volumes about your approach and will also help to boost your confidence. There is nothing wrong with looking good!
There are few things worse than an awkward silence regardless of the social situation, so prepare a few topics to discuss in advance for a smooth and productive conversation. The client is likely to have lots of questions too, so carefully consider what they might ask and prepare a few replies. It can be helpful to create an agenda so that the meeting does not go off track and all the topics are covered by the end. This also shows that you value time and take a serious approach to all work-related matters.
Inform the receptionist to welcome them warmly to the office and offer them a seat. Come out to meet them in the reception with a firm handshake and a smile. Greet them by their name (be sure to memorize these if it is a group of people). Be polite, maintain eye-contact and show them around the office and introduce them (by name) to everyone before starting the meeting. This gives them a chance to familiarise themselves with the area and relax before getting down to business.
In the meeting, be present and give them your undivided attention. Remove any distractions like mobile phones, tablets, etc. Start off with a bit of small talk to establish personal connections and so that they can relax. You should always offer them a refreshment of some kind at the start of the discussion too. Once everyone is settled, you can start discussing work-related matters. Listen carefully to what they have to say and take your time when responding to their questions. Listening shows that you care and that you are invested in what they have to say. If there are key figures that are not in the office that you would like to introduce them to, a great way to impress a client is with a conference call (be sure to plan this in advance). Use a high-quality system with HD quality to show that your company values communication and it is easy to have a productive conversation over the phone. You can discover more about conference call systems online.
When concluding the meeting, shake their hand again and thank them for their time. Walk them out of the building where you can again make small talk before parting ways with another handshake (a physical contact is a powerful tool for creating trust and showing warmth).
9. Follow Up:
This can all help to make a good first best impression, but the work does not stop here. Follow up the meeting with an email either later in the day or the next working day where you thank them for coming in and outline what the plan is going forward. Be friendly in the email and be sure to include some small talk related to what you discussed in the office. Doing this shows that you were listening and took an active interest in what they had to say.
First, best impressions count for a lot and particularly in business. When meeting a new client for the first time, follow the above advice, and you will be painting your business (and yourself) as a highly professional yet friendly organization that can get the job done. Making a good first impression will get the relationship off to a good start, but it is important to continue putting in the effort with every follow-up meeting or conversation and look for ways to strengthen bonds while you are providing them with your services.