Making the Most of First Impressions
Updated: Aug 18
You’ve finally landed a meeting with a potential customer that you’ve been pursuing for years. This could change the trajectory of your business! But how do you do everything you can to ensure you’re successful in getting that customer interested in you?
First impressions have lasting power. A good first impression can contribute to positive and long-term relationships, and result in increased sales and opportunities.
Here are 7 tips to help you lock down a new customer:
Be time sensitive. This is a no-brainer. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to demonstrate respect for your prospect’s time. Nail down a time to meet that fits their schedule, even if it means adjusting your own work day/week. If meeting in person, show up to the appointment at least 5 minutes early.
If meeting by Zoom, get online ahead of time, troubleshoot any tech issues and be ready to go.
Know your stuff. Find out as much as you can about that potential customer – study their website, their social media posts, and anything else you can find. What are their likely pain points? Where does what you offer and what they need intersect?
Hone your pitch. Can you articulate in a sentence or two what your company does and who you are? Prepare a short presentation on your company and its products or services. The effort you put into doing that will demonstrate to customers that you’re really keen on doing business with them, and it will also help keep you on track during the meeting.
Here are some pointers for creating an elevator pitch that works.
Define what makes you different. Let’s get real. There are probably lots of companies out there that offer similar products or services, but what makes yours better? What would make a customer choose you over the other guy? Is it attentive customer service? Superior workmanship? A warranty program second to none? Every company shines in some respect. What’s your gold?
Listen and ask questions. This is about your customer. A big part of the initial meeting is information gathering. You want to understand more about their company, their values, goals and what makes them tick. Develop a list of questions ahead of time to ask them. Think about the sorts of questions they might ask you, and encourage them to do so. And don’t forget to take notes. That will show you’re engaged and interested in learning more.
Pay attention to the details. Don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise – the little things are oh so important. A misspelled word in an email or incorrect information in a document can be a major turnoff.
Have a member of your team proof your communications, especially if grammar and spelling – or the details in general – aren’t your strong suit. A program like Grammarly can come in handy. Here are some additional tips to improve your writing.
Follow through. Be true to your word. If you say you’re going to send more information on a particular topic, do it. And do it in a timely fashion, within a few days of your meeting. This will also provide an opportunity to thank them for their time and suggest reconnecting.
You never get a second chance for a first impression. Ultimately what you’re looking for is a loyal customer that keeps coming back to buy what you are selling. So starting off on the right foot is crucial.