Did you know that upon meeting someone for the first time, it takes a mere 7 seconds to form the first impression?
While this usually goes without saying, this particular first impression could mean everything for you and your business. Whether you’re working in a customer service based role yourself or freelancing, the first impression is a factor that will weigh in heavily on your potential clients’ decision-making.
Think of it this way: as a customer, you’ll more likely to be deterred from visiting a business again if you walk away with a negative or unengaging first experience. This same principle applies in all aspects of life, including your own line of work. I mean, how many times have you had a burnt coffee or a rude barista entirely change your perception of a local cafe? It’s true, the first impression speaks volumes!
So if you find yourself nervous, unconfident or struggling to put your best foot forward, here is some tried-and-true advice.
What most can forget is that a lasting impression can be formed before you grab a coffee with your prospective client. For example, in real estate, the first impression arises as your clients drive past your billboards and read your letterbox drops. Take this one step further and review the way you represent yourself across your digital channels and in the office. Your staff and colleagues are a reflection of your business, so ensure that all present are informed of any in-house client meetings. As they say, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link!
Always greet your client with a smile and do whatever you can to make them as comfortable as possible. Warm gestures like these can go a long way in establishing trust and essentially sets the foundation for what is to come.
Find a common interest
Often, the nerves that arise from meeting a client from the first time can come from clients’ potential disapproval. In truth, everyone fears disapproval – so you are not the only one! A simple way to combat this fear is to attempt to find common ground. This can help to ease the conversation, initiate a few laughs and allow you to build on your relationship.
Sometimes, you just need to sit back and listen! Upon the first meeting, it can be impossible to show your client everything that you can do for them. As such, it can be more worthwhile to simply be in the moment and absorb what your client has to say. Touch on all expectations to get a better understanding of client’s motivations, circumstances and overarching needs. In any context, a good listener is always appreciated.
At the heart of it, your client is looking to you for a solution – and will most likely bring along their own set of doubts and concerns. This is your chance to lead the way and show them that any potential obstacles can (and will) be combatted! Negativity is a thing that can haunt your clients; however, make sure that you don’t let it define their experience. After assuring them of the assistance you can provide, your client will soon realise they are in good hands.