Since the moment you first Googled, “how to impress my crush” way back in high school, you have known how important a first impression is. It is that factor that can make or break your entire relationship. But aside from impressing The One right off the bad, no first impression is more important than that of a potentially huge client. That is when you feel your underarms get more than just a little damp.
A first impression is made within nine seconds of your first meeting, and it is the thin red line that could see you beat your competitors to the paycheck. Rapport, comfort and friendliness are the secret ingredients of a great partnership.
So, to answer the all-important question of “how?”, we have pulled together a list of ways you can ensure those initial nine seconds are the start of something much-much longer.
1. Appearance Is Everything
It doesn’t matter what the setting is, you need to ensure you look the part because, at the end of the day, perception is reality. So, if you agreed to meet at your office, then make sure your office wows them from the get-go. Have a friendly receptionist that knows the power of a smile, invest in office furniture that shows off what kind of brand you are and know the importance of manners. If you agreed to meet at their offices, or at a mutual meeting ground, then dress the part. You don’t want to lose out because you wore jeans and a tee when a suit was needed.
2. Remember You’re Humans
Yes, you are there to get down to business, but don’t let that overrule that fact you are two humans with personalities, hobbies, passions and lives outside of work. As such, use the first few minutes to find common ground and build a rapport. It could be you both like rugby, or have a soft-spot for beagles, have both visited the taco shop across the street or are new parents, still getting used to having a sleep-thief in tow. This will be the moment they think back to when a decision is hard.
3. Have An Agenda At Hand
Nothing is going to make you look less professional than being flustered, looking lost, going back and forth between topics and forgetting to ask vital questions. Luckily, there is a simple solution to all of this and it’s called an agenda. By using an agenda, you can keep the all-important conversational tone that is required for building rapport, while ensuring you don’t miss a beat. It will also show the potential client sat in front of you that you are in control, you know what you are doing and that they can trust you. It’s the source of all reliability.
4. Research Is Second-To-None
The internet offers a free education and it misses nothing. Not a thing. Which is why you need to squeeze it dry of all the information possible. Research the client in every way; the company, the individual, their causes, previous projects and future hopes. Research their competitors and the industry standards and if there are any current affairs that could shape the future of their market. The more you know, the more you can impress.