Having satisfied customers is one of the key things you need to strive for in order for your business to last. If people are happy with the services you provide, they are not only more likely to come back, but they will also share their positive experience with friends or colleagues, which will make your web of users grow. We all know that word-of-mouth is often the most effective way of marketing, so you really want to pay close attention to how you present yourself. In business, as well as in life, the first impression is crucial. Those first few seconds will greatly determine the customer’s opinion of your company and whether they will come back or not. So how exactly do you make sure they do? Here are 13 tips on how to make a good first impression.
1. Make the store/office look inviting
Customers will partially form their opinion of your business even before they meet you. No matter what you are selling or which type of service you are providing, your shop or office space has to be kept in good condition. It’s like selling a garment – if it looks bad, it probably doesn’t fit well, either. Make sure your workplace looks inviting, clean and organized, because it say the same thing about you.
2. Be welcoming
When people walk in, they want to be greeted, feel welcomed and accepted. Even if they don’t need your assistance right away, it sends the right kind of message. You need to be available to them whenever they need you, because the staff is there for the customer, and the customer is what keeps your business going.
3. Look the part
Your personal appearance should be in line with the company’s. Think of it like going to the hairstylist’s – if you see one with a bad haircut, you’re probably not going to let him anywhere near your locks. It’s the same thing with running a business – you need to look professional, well-groomed and respectable, otherwise, your client is not likely to put his trust in you.
4. Be punctual
Arriving late to a meeting is one of the major no-no’s in business. It makes you look irresponsible and like you don’t really respect the other person’s time. Always make sure to leave enough time to arrive and prep before the client arrives. If you’re by any chance stuck in traffic, call and apologize for your tardiness.
5. Be helpful
As I’ve said before, the staff is there for the customer. With that in mind, the customer in doubt will always appreciate your honest opinion. If he or she is indecisive about which product to choose, don’t tell them to buy the most expensive one just because it’s convenient for you. Recommend the one that is best suited to their needs. It creates a relationship of trust and reliability.
6. Pay attention
When the client is talking, listen. Even though it may not be something you’re really interested in hearing, customers want to feel heard. If they are explaining what they want, make sure to try and understand how you can help them find the right thing. Offer suggestions and advice – that way, you can show them that you care.
7. Don’t jump straight to business
A trait of every great entrepreneur is that they know how to form relationships with their clients. You need to be the same way – don’t be all about business and selling, start off with a friendly, personal approach. Find something that you and your client have in common and mention it; the conversation will take off from there. Once you’ve built a good relationship, move on to discuss business.
8. Don’t keep the customer waiting
The one thing that basically all of us have in common is that we don’t like to have to wait. Fast service grants you additional points with customers. Having to wait makes people irritated and impatient, and you want the buyer to leave your store happy and satisfied, so a prompt service is a must.
9. Watch your body language
When it comes to first impressions, body language is actually something the other person pays more attention than what you are saying. Never keep your arms crossed, because it makes you defensive, and maintain eye contact. Your body language should imply that you have self-confidence, are comfortable in your own skin and willing to assist the customer.
10. Turn off your phone
One of the most annoying things when talking to someone is for that person to constantly check their phone. You feel ignored and disrespected, so don’t do that to others, either. If it really is an important call, apologize and keep the conversation over the phone short.
11. Lose the negative attitude
You want to make your clients feel comfortable in your presence, so whatever you are going through, they shouldn’t be allowed to see it. When talking to them, they are supposed to feel like there’s no place in the world that you would rather be in that moment. Being attentive and having a positive attitude will get you far.
No matter how you actually feel about the person, never forget to smile. Without that, all of your knowledge and fast results will matter to the customer less. Being friendly and looking positive can make up for mistakes on your part, too.
13. Be polite
Mind your manners at all times. This may not seem like much, but remembering to say ‘Please’ or ‘Thank you’ is something that people respond to well. They are less likely to be dissatisfied if you are nice to them.
You only get one chance to make the first impression, so you might as well try your best. Remember that it is much easier to further build a relationship that started properly, than it is to mend one that started on the wrong foot. Making the effort to project the right attitude and appearance is a vital component in successfully doing business.