From our first years on the planet, we’re all taught about the importance of delivering a great first impression. It’s why we had to wash our faces, keep our clothes clean, mind our P’s and Q’s… and that drive to show our best side has trickled into the way we do business, now that we’re grown.
The folks at Harvard claim that it takes only 7 seconds for someone to formulate their first impression of you and your business. And it takes an additional 7 meetings for them to change their opinion of you.
Think of it like this – if you’re giving a not-so-great first impression, can you imagine your prospects sticking around for 7 more meetings in order for you to change their minds?
It’s not likely, is it?
Luckily, there are a number of things that you can do to make sure that your business is always presented in the best possible light, at the first impression, the second and beyond.
Declutter your office space
Make sure your working environment is clean, tidy and well presented. Keep any communal areas warm and inviting and encourage your employees to keep their desks clutter-free. Not only will this give a positive impression to any visitors, but it will help instill a more professional demeanour across the team.
Try to keep the office as neutral and on-brand as possible. That means cohesive decor, rather than a collection of hand-me-downs brought in from home.
Follow up with connections
Networking events – a joy for some, a necessary evil for others. One thing’s for sure, we’ve all walked away from a business lunch with a stack of business cards and not much else.
Make it a company-wide policy to always follow up with those new contacts. Email them, call them, connect with them on Linkedin… just make it a personal communication rather than a copy-pasted template. Offering that follow-up is a surefire way to give a great impression, simply because so few people think to do it.
Be consistent online
You don’t need me to tell you that a prospect’s first act, before they even reach out to you directly, will be to Google the business. They’ll do their research beforehand, and that will often determine whether they want to work with you or not.
Being in business in the digital age opens us up to so many different ways to market our businesses… the downside of that is that it can often lead to mismatched, inconsistent attempts. You want those search results to show that your business is pro, that you’re trustworthy and that you are totally up-to-date with what’s going on in the industry.
Make sure that each of your digital profiles is joined up. Use the same, high-quality visuals. Use the same tone in your communications. And if any of your employees broadcast on behalf of the company, make sure they’re well-trained in what they should and shouldn’t be doing.
Make the next steps clear
There is one thing that is the kiss of death to new client relationships, and that’s doubt. You should never leave your prospects with anything but 100% certainty of what they can expect next.
Ambiguity is how you lose business, so always be clear in your communications, whether that’s on your website or in a face-to-face conversation.
Spell out how they can learn more about your packages, or trial your services. Make it easy for them to make an enquiry, and then explain exactly what will happen when they do. Show off your onboarding process so they know exactly what’s coming at every stage.
Supercharge your customer service
That first point of contact is often the person who can make or break your new client relationships. More often than not, that person is the one sitting at the other end of the phone.
If you want to deliver the best first impression, time after time, whoever answers your phone needs to be:
- Positive and friendly
- Well-trained on the services you offer and how your business works
- Helpful and proactive
- Quick to pick up
Wouldn’t you be more likely to hire someone if that’s the kind of reception you received whenever you called in?
To supercharge the customer service in your business, you might want to think about investing in a call answering service. Not only will this give you the confidence that all prospects are being well taken care of, but it will free up your technical staff to do what they do best – the actual client work.
Find out more about how Verbatim can help you with your customer service needs right here.