11 Tips For Making A Great First Impression With New Clients by Forbes – Entrepreneurs

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As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. In addition, studies have shown that we make judgments about new people we meet within a matter of seconds. Whether the meeting is planned or impromptu, it’s especially important to get off on the right foot with a potential new business client.

There are definite to-dos and to-don’ts in every personal interaction that it’s wise to keep top of mind. And if it’s a scheduled introduction, it may be a good idea to do some prep work first. Below, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their top tips for making a great first impression.

Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share tips for making a great first impression with a potential new business partner or client.

All photos courtesy of YEC members.

1. Do Your Research

There are many little things that can help you to make a great first impression on a potential new business partner or client. However, the best tip that I can give is to research them and their company before the meeting. The rule of thumb is to never go into a meeting “cold.” You always want to do your homework, so to speak, by looking up the potential partner/client on LinkedIn to get a sense of who they are, what they do and what they’ve done. It will always flatter and impress someone if you show up to your meeting with a good understanding of them. It also shows that you come to meetings prepared and that you care about your potential relationship with them. This could be the difference between securing them as a partner/client or losing out. – Murray Newlands

2. Show Them You’re Invested

If you’re meeting a potential partner for the first time, get to know them and their business. This will build confidence with them that you’re making an informed decision. Don’t make the decision right away and make them believe you’re impulsive. You can show them you’re invested in the business by making suggestions after you hear them out. – Sweta Patel, Startup Growth Mode

3. Be Ready For The Next Step

From day one you want to make sure you have actionable next steps. I believe this is true for both business partners and clients. In both cases, you’re selling. In sales, you never want to end a meeting without a call to action. So we make sure there’s a list of things that are clearly communicated that one or both sides will do next. Having this agenda also ensures the meeting stays on track, because you spend the time driving towards coming up with the action items. As long as you are generating action items and knocking them out, you’ll move that relationship forward. – Jared Brown, Hubstaff Talent

4. Take A Look At The Whole Picture

Do the homework—on the client, their competitors and the industry. Every time I take a potential client meeting, I not only do an SEO audit on the company so I can speak to their strengths and weaknesses, but also on the competition to speak on opportunities. The conversation elevates when there’s knowledge being shared on both sides, and it’s more fun! And when fun is had, the first impression is a positive one. – Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

5. Bring, And Take, Notes

When I meet with a new partner or client, I always bring a notebook (yes, I am a techie who doesn’t believe in notebooks, but they work). Don’t bring your phone or your computer into the meeting for notes. Take a few notes in the notebook ahead of time with some key conversation points from your research about them. I use LinkedIn to find a few common threads (locations, colleges, organizations, common connects, etc.) and jot those down. Of course, do your homework on the agenda for the meeting, but these little soft touches make for a better conversation. Take notes during the chat as it shows you are listening (for me, it forces me to listen). At the end of the discussion, always ask, “What can I do to help you?” and offer up support, expecting nothing in return. Finally, send a detailed follow-up email from your conversation and hit on your action items. I’ve used this my entire career, and it has been one of the secret weapons for business development, sales, fundraising and networking. – Zach Ferres, Coplex

6. Check Out Their Online Content

Today, you have more access to people you have never met than ever before. My best tip to making a great first impression with a potential new business partner or client is to do some research before you meet. I always make sure to Google them, checking out their website and making sure to read their “About Me” tab. Then I visit their social media sites. I find what they like, read content they have created, find places they have been featured and watch videos that they have made. That way I can get to know them before I meet them, and when I reference something they recently posted or tell them how much I enjoyed a recent podcast they were on, it is a first impression that is sure to last. – Hadari Oshri, Xehar Technologies

7. Bring Them Value

Show your worth and let them know what they might get from your cooperation. If it’s a potential customer, talk to them about their problems, find out their pain and present them with possible ways to relieve it. If it’s a potential business partner, talk about their business and their long-term vision. Be a valuable interlocutor and prove that you’re different in a good way. The key is to listen. People love talking about themselves, and that’s something you can leverage during any first meeting. What you definitely shouldn’t do is boast about your accomplishments and go on and on about your business. That will never work with either prospective customers or with potential business partners. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

8. Have A Sense Of Humor

At many conferences and networking events, the people you’re trying the hardest to connect with have most likely been having the same conversations with people who have the same goals many, many times. That means you’ll be under pressure to make a first impression that isn’t just positive, but also memorable. The best way I’ve found to do this is to inject some humor into the entire experience. It can be something as simple as a one-liner, or it could be a humorous observation based on a shared experience. Whatever it is, finding a way to make the person you’re talking to chuckle, or even just crack a smile, will definitely help you build an excellent foundation for a business relationship with staying power. – Bryce Welker, Crush The CPA Exam

9. Ask For A Favor

Benjamin Franklin once suggested that the best way to get someone to like you is to ask them for a favor, such as advice, help or to borrow something. Once a person has helped you, they want to justify in their mind why they helped you, and their justification is that they like you. It’s a really effective psychological “trick”! – Kevin Ryan Tao, NeuEve

10. Tell A Story

Obviously, you need to look presentable. But more importantly, you need to be memorable. Tell a story. Tell what you do best and why you are in business. Tell something funny or educational that will help the client remember you. Typically, I try to rely on educating the client on things to avoid. Everyone appreciates free advice, and letting them know what they can avoid in a project of theirs will help you stand out as an expert in the field. They will remember your advice and hopefully turn to you when they decide on who to work with on their project. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

11. Find Common Ground

To make sure all meetings are good meetings, take the time to find common ground. Listen more than you speak, and ask only open-ended questions. And most importantly, use their name and smile. – Yon Nuta, Accuvit

April 3, 2019 at 09:07AM
https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2019/04/03/11-tips-for-making-a-great-first-impression-with-potential-new-clients/
Forbes – Entrepreneurs
http://www.forbes.com/entrepreneurs/
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