RSS

Tag Archives: first impression

How to Win Over a Client in the First Meeting

Concept shot of exchange business card between man and womanThe initial consultation with a client can be awkward and uncomfortable, especially if you feel like the two of you aren’t quite clicking. It’s essentially an interview – for both of you. Each person needs to decide whether they want to work with the other. And much like a first date, it can be hard to read the cues to know if the other person is “into you.”

There is no surefire way to make a client want to hire you, but there are a few best practices that can greatly increase your chances. This first meeting is the time to present yourself as professional and likeable. Here are some tips for making a good first impression at your initial client consultation.

Make them feel comfortable

First, establish your expectations for the meeting. I like to begin my first client meetings by letting them know this is a casual conversation simply for us to each learn about each other. I purposely don’t take out a pen and paper, until the conversation has reached that point. Rather, I’ve found it puts the other person at ease to feel like they’re talking to a friend and not being interviewed. This is an important step toward developing a meaningful relationship with a client.

Prove you’ve done your research

I know I said you should set the expectation of the first meeting to be a casual conversation, but that’s not a free pass to come completely unprepared. Make sure you do your research ahead of time so that you can ask targeted questions that will help you get to the point of the matter. If you leave a meeting with more questions than when you arrived, you didn’t do enough research to ask the right questions – and you’ve just made more work for yourself!

Share relevant experiences

If the opportunity naturally arises, you should reference other clients you’ve worked with that had similar challenges, and how you successfully overcame them. Clients like to know that you have experience related to their industry. You don’t need to be an expert, but having a few case studies to share can really earn you some bonus points.

Be humble

Coming in with too much confidence can push you over the edge – and not in a good way. Clients want to feel like they are in capable hands, but too much confidence can make it seem like you’re downplaying their challenges. It can even make them feel self-conscious that they aren’t able to solve the same problems you’re claiming to be “common” or “easy.” Be humble, genuinely listen to what they have to say, and throw in a little humor at your own expense!

Give them something of value…at no cost

I get it. You don’t think you can afford to offer free advice to a potential client for fear they could walk off with it and never call you again. And that may very well happen. However, in my experience, offering some minimal free advice almost always returns more business than what I would have gained by trying to charge for it in the beginning. Free advice earns you trust, wins you respect and shows the client you aren’t out to try and nickel and dime them. When they see that you really know what you’re talking about, they’re likely to carve out a budget and come back to you for more work.

Leave with a game plan

Finally and most importantly, leave the initial meeting with a game plan. This next move may be on you – to create a proposal or follow-up in some other way. Or it may be on the client to determine their budget or talk with their business partner. Either way, be sure to leave the meeting knowing who is expected to do what and by when. This allows you to follow-up should that deadline pass and it also prevents things from going stale after the progress you made in the meeting.

Do you have another valuable tip to share for how to win over a new client? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment!

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 10, 2017 in Business & Success, Life

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Taking Control of First Impressions (Guest Blog by Britany Wallace)

The following blog post is part of the Bennis Blogger Battle. Support Britany by “Liking” this post, leaving a comment and sharing it on your social media! The blog with the most hits, wins.

————————————————————————————————

First impressions are important, but another person’s view of us is ‘outside our control’. So what can we control? The most important thing in our control is our personal commitment to ‘leading ourselves’. If we can’t lead ourselves we can’t lead others. The first step is recognizing that ‘Everything We Do In Life Counts’. This is a constant process and includes everything we do both public and private.

Every choice we make must have a purpose. There are no insignificant choices in life. The small things always matter. What are some other things that COUNT?

 

  • Self-discipline in every area of our life
  • Developing Personal Character
  • Personal Development
  • Commitment to Excellence
  • How we invest our energies and time
  • How we treat others

If we take this approach in life our ‘first impressions’ will be driven by a set of core beliefs that stand on their own. It is said that we become the 5 people we spend the most time around. Look at your 5 closest friends (their character, habits, attitudes, etc) and you will see yourself. If we are committed to developing the character qualities of a leader, we will draw to ourselves people who are just like we are. The ‘lasting impressions’ of those closest to us are the ones that really count. First impressions will take care of themselves.

What is a First Impression?

We know what first impressions are but we DON’T know how much they can help or harm you and the relationships you try to build. A first impression is formed between the first 10 seconds and 5 minutes you are in someone’s presence. PROBLEM: They are private and we have no idea what other people are thinking about us.

First Impressions:

  • Can improving or degrading
  • Are private
  • Can be informed and influenced by personal values and biases; therefore preempting the impression to a particular state (before the meeting even occurs)
  • Are formed based on our actions and reactions, language, tone, appearance, even environments (i.e. what or whom we surround ourselves with)

We may not know or want to believe it (Wizard’s First Rule), but people are watching us… Yes, WATCHING… Scary, right? But true.

Can I Control the First Impression Formed?

Yes, and no. We can control it by preparing for that first meeting. If we do, the first impression will be more stable and likely more positive. However, Geoffrey James cites that there isn’t a logical thought process which individuals experience. Truth is, it’s a reaction both immediate and unconscious. Many sources detail how to form a positive first impression, but they want you to ACT LIKE SOMETHING YOU AREN’T!

David Wygant discusses that your self-confidence is the most important part of your first impression. Low confidence makes it hard for anyone else to believe in you. The best way to market your personal brand is BUZZ marketing. Let people talk about you. LeadershipFreak says that other people will talk about you if you let them. Let other people’s words give you confidence and pride in who you are.

First impressions determine how each interaction proceeds from that point forward. The first impression made on anyone is foundational.

Take Initiative. Research:

  • The person
  • The company
  • Purpose for meeting
  • That person’s values
  • Their superiors (subordinates)
  • Try to find a contact within the company or close to them in the hierarchy

Mark Oakes encourages us to monitor and protect what we can control about our first impressions. You CAN control what you do and say that people will see and interpret; not their thoughts. Be cognizant of those things; use them to your advantage.

How do I Control My First Impressions?

  • Stay Positive
  • Be yourself
  • Be confident
  • Let others market your brand
  • Pay attention to your actions and words; they can help or hurt you
  • Be unforgettable; not memorable
  • Ask relevant, interesting questions
  • Do preliminary research
  • Ask for information to look into and follow-up on

“Wizard’s First Rule: People will believe anything you tell them because A) they are afraid it is true or B) they want it to be true.”   -Zeddicus Zul Zorander, Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind

Credits:
Edberg, Hendrik. How to Make A Great First Impression. Retrieved from:  http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2007/03/16/how-to-make-a-great-first-impression/.
Goodkind, Terry. Wizard’s First Rule.
James, Geoffrey. 2011. How Important Are First Impressions? Retrieved from:  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505183_162-28554948-10391735/how-important-are-first-impressions/.
Laskowski, Lenny. 1998. How to Create A Great First Impression. Retrieved from: http://www.ljlseminars.com/impress.htm.
Willis, Janine & Alexander Todorov. 2006. First Impressions: Making Up Your Mind After a 100-Ms Exposure To A Face. Retrieved from:  http://pss.sagepub.com/content/17/7/592.short.
Wygant, David. 2010. How Important Are First Impressions? Retrieved from:  http://www.davidwygant.com/blog/how-important-are-first-impressions/4398/.

Other Resources:
http://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/FirstImpressions.htm
http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200405/the-first-impression
http://thinkexist.com/quotes/with/keyword/first_impressions/

BritanyBritany Wallace is a senior business student at Moravian College in Bethlehem and loves blogging in her free time. She expects to travel for volunteer and learning opportunities during the summer and look for permanent work afterward. She enjoys volunteer work, mostly construction and helping at animal shelters and in her free time she reads for knowledge and pleasure. Please support Britany by “Liking” this post, leaving a comment below and visiting her at kebperspectives.wordpress.com, lifelongstudentofbusiness.wordpress.com or bwallaceperspectives.blogspot.com. (Introduction by Mark O. Oakes, a wonderful contact of KEBPerspectives. Follow him on Twitter @MarkOOakes)

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: