You know what they say about first impressions… You only ever get to make one. And while a bad first impression can eventually be unmade by lots of hard work and diligence, the world of business is rarely conducive to this opportunity. If you run your own business, you’ve likely already had to make some pretty serious first impressions on strangers who’ve held your fate and that of your business in their hands. You’ve had to wow investors, business lenders and/or silent partners. You’ve had to demonstrate that your business plan and you are worthy of their time, attention and investment. Now that your up and running, you know that securing the right clients can help to take your business to the next level and cement your reputation as a force to be reckoned with in your chosen field.
When these prospective clients come along, you will have only one chance to show them that your business is the right choice for them. Here are a few ways in which you can ensure that they walk away with the right impression of you and your business…
Your premises should be a model of efficiency
While the client’s attention will predominantly be on you and what you’re saying, be advised that their impression doesn’t start and end with you. They will likely take a moment to glance here and there at the daily operations of your business and may even want to take a moment to talk with some of your employees. For this reason, your premises need to be a model of efficiency. You must implement a zero-tolerance policy on messy desks, dishevelled employees or a floor littered with paper clips and crumpled post-it notes. Rental floor scrubbers are a great way to ensure that your floors are dazzlingly shiny and clean without representing a trip hazard. Plan the route you will take with the client, take into account what and whom they will see, and make sure that everything is presented in a way that paints an accurate and flattering picture of your enterprise.
Bring confidence and restraint to your body language
Your client wants to know that they’re dealing with a professional who’s confident in their abilities. However, few want to be bowled over by a force of nature. Exhibit confidence in your demeanour and body language but resist the urge to overdo it. Keep your body language open and greet them with warmth and enthusiasm. Use your hands sparingly to emphasise points upon which you’re passionate to convey that you genuinely care a great deal about what you do. Resist the urge to gesticulate too much, speak too loudly or guffaw at their jokes. Come on too strong and they’ll want to bolt for the door.
It doesn’t have to be all business
People tend to do business with people they like and trust on a personal level. Sure, business may be the reason why you’re both here, but taking an interest in them as a person will make your business relationship that much stronger. Do a little homework and look for common interests. If you can strike up a conversation about something you’re both passionate about like sports or the arts, and you have the makings of a strong professional relationship.