Five ways to create a first impression
It’s said that you only get one chance to make a first impression and when that one chance is the difference between signing up a new client or not you want to make sure your first impression counts. Here are five ways to ensure you make an impact.
Make sure your social media profiles are up to date
An initial first impression is often made online these days, particularly through LinkedIn. Sue Currie, founder of Shine Academy is a personal branding expert and says potential clients can form an impression even before they meet you through checking out your social media profile.
“Therefore it’s important your profiles portray a professional image,” she says. “Staying up to date with social media is crucial, as is ensuring your social media profiles are portraying a professional image.”
Sue advises having a professional head and shoulders photo taken for your LinkedIn profile. “Make sure you wear business clothes in the photo and keep your profile information up to date,” she says.
Rapport building and “social selling” can happen well before any face-to-face meeting, Sue says. “Ensure you respond to any emails and phone calls in a timely manner,” she adds. “Keep all communication open, friendly and helpful.”
Be prepared and look the part
Prepare for any meetings by gathering your thoughts and having prepared notes. Sue advises being a few minutes early for the meeting. “Have everything you need either in a stylish compendium, computer or folder,” she says. “Be neat and accessible. You don’t always have to be a suit but it is important to be well groomed.”
Watch the body language
Body language should be open, expansive and approachable. “A warm smile, firm handshake and confident, direct eye-contact will display confidence,” Sue says.
Follow up quickly
Once the prospective client walks out the door it can be easy for nothing to happen. Opportunities can go cold if you rely on the client to get back to you. The best approach is to immediately send them an email saying how good it was to meet them.
In the meeting, it’s always a good idea to promise to send the client something you discussed. If you’re an accountant, for example, this might be a white paper on cash-flow management. This way you have a reason to follow up quickly and to show you’ve been listening and responding to their needs.