You have only one chance to make a great first impression.
From the very first moment you approach a customer or prospective client, your personal presentation, behaviour, and attitude will influence their decision to do business with you.
According to Psychological Science, “a series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov reveal that all it takes is a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face, and that longer exposures don’t significantly alter those impressions (although they might boost your confidence in your judgments).”
Therefore, you and your business have ten seconds to make a good first impression.
Of course, ten seconds are not enough to talk about your business and tell an engaging story.
Nevertheless, it takes just a quick glance, maybe a couple of seconds, for people to look at your appearance and body language and make assumptions about you and your business.
Below you will find the most clever tips to make a great first impression during face-to-face meetings that guarantee follow up.
Note: I am not sharing common business etiquette rules in this post, such as “greet everyone”, “be polite and professional”, “dress properly”, or “always be on time”. Even though the general rules of etiquette are crucial for your business meetings, I believe they are intuitive, and you’re already aware of their importance.
Table of contents:
- 7 tips for making a great first impression with new clients
- How can B2B HQ help you make a good first impression on your clients?
1. 7 Tips For Making A Great First Impression With New Clients
- Start with eye contact
This rule seems simple, but I believe it sometimes gets taken for granted. Your eyes reflect your level of comfort and self-confidence when communicating with others. Eye contact also shows you’re a good listener and helps you build connection and trust. Avoiding a direct engagement with someone else’s gaze could send not-so-flattering messages about the type of person you are and how you’re doing business. I am not saying you should stare at others without blinking, but look people in the eyes to make your words more memorable and make others remember you.
- Do your research
Going into a meeting without doing research about your potential business partner is like attending a job interview without knowing anything about the company. So, you should spare a few minutes and research your customers, investors, suppliers, or prospective clients and their businesses before meeting them. Here is what you should try to figure out: their personal interests and affinities, most relevant professional achievements, overall company strategy, current business objectives and initiatives, and key challenges.
- Bring a notebook
Have you ever left a meeting feeling like you forgot something? If so, you should have perhaps taken some notes. If you bring a notebook and take notes, you’ll show your clients that you are listening (and it can actually force you to improve your listening). Notes make meetings meaningful and make you seem organised and in control. When I meet a new client or partner, I always carry my trusty notebook and pen. I also use my notebook to write down some key conversation points that help me have clear ideas concerning the topics I want to cover during the meeting.
- Avoid distracting nonverbal behaviours
Here’s an expert tip: record yourself speaking and watch the playback. Poor body language can send signals that you are not as reliable and trustworthy as you claim to be, so make sure you identify negative body language signals (if any) while you watch yourself speaking. This tip will help you keep your body language in check during your business meetings. Here are some of the most common tics to tackle: wringing your hands, looking around the room, folding your arms, fidgeting with a pen, putting hands in and out of pockets, or touching your face.
- Use professional office space
Dedicated meeting space will give your customers and clients a good impression of your business. Are you running an online business without physical office space? Even so, you should avoid holding your meetings in noisy coffee shops. A coffee shop (or similar space) looks unprofessional and does not provide you with any support services. If you’re operating your business remotely, you may want to consider a professional, cost-effective virtual office. First-class virtual offices include fully equipped meeting rooms designed to protect sensitive information, improve focus, and impress your guests.
- Avoid weak language
“I may be wrong, but uhm I think we should implement uhm a new strategy that basically will help us uhm achieve our goals, so there are some things to talk about and uhm I hope that’s ok with you”. Does this example sound convincing to you? I guess not, as it is full of weak words (words that do not add value to the message). Here are the most common examples of weak words you should avoid if you want to make a good impression on your clients: fillers (e.g., uhm, basically, kind of, etc.), hedges (e.g., I may be wrong, but…, In my opinion, I just…), and short questions added to the end of a sentence (e.g., Right?, Don’t you think?, You see what I’m saying?).
- Use humour (but not too much)
You may ask, “Is the business environment a right place to be funny?”. Well, yes. A business speech without a bit of humour is likely to be dry and boring. Humour can help you build relationships, engage people on a serious and tedious topic, and increase the impact of your speech. However, please note that humour in business is a double-edged sword. Adding a dash of humour can lighten the mood of a meeting, but cracking too many jokes is not appropriate (especially if they fall flat).
2. How Can B2B HQ Help You Make A Good First Impression On Your Clients?
Managing the art of making a great first impression is crucial for your business. Otherwise, you risk missing out on profitable opportunities that your company needs to succeed.
As I shared in the first section of my post, premium virtual offices (like the ones provided by B2B HQ) include professional meeting space that your business needs to make an excellent first impression on customers and potential investors.
However, there are many other ways B2B HQ can help you create a good first impression:
- Business address
B2B HQ can provide you with a unique address dedicated to your business in a premium location near Melbourne CBD (e.g., “Suite 7, 139 Cardigan St”). As a result, your customers and prospects will believe that you are located at a prestigious address while you’re free to operate remotely from anywhere.
- On-site receptionist
We are striving to deliver first-class services for our customers and help them build a professional business image. For this reason, we have on-site receptionists available from Monday to Friday during business hours to manage phone calls and greet your visitors.
- Virtual receptionist
The first impression delivered by phone is as important as the first impression you make during face-to-face business meetings. The interaction with your customers over the phone is your first opportunity to make a positive impact on them. As we are aware of the importance of personalised, seamless, and consistent customer experience, we provide businesses with professional virtual receptionists that offer 24/7 coverage.
- Unbranded meeting rooms
To make a great impression with new clients, you need to use office space that looks like it is all yours (and not ours). All of our meeting rooms and boardrooms are unbranded, meaning that we do not have our logo, contact details, company name or branding at the entrance or within the office space.
- Business landline
Before even trying to reach out to your business, your customers will notice your contact details. For this reason, you should provide them with a professional business landline number (e.g., 1300 or 1800 number) and not an ordinary mobile number (that’s why we have included local landline plans in our office packages).
- Parking and visibility
Suppose you arrange a business meeting with a client in a location that is hard to find, without parking space or access to public transit. In this case, you risk creating a bad first impression that is hard to shake. B2B HQ’s offices are easy to find, and there is parking space available near the office building.
Making a good first impression is essential to gaining new clients and attracting business opportunities.
People often make split-second judgements of others based on immediate intuitions. For this reason, you have just a few seconds to show your expertise and competency in your industry and build trust when meeting new clients.
Therefore, your personal appearance, behaviour, and type of office space you use can make or break your business.
If you understand the power of first impressions and want to send the right message about your business, B2B HQ would be more than happy to help you out. You can use our virtual offices to build trust, strengthen your company’s reputation, and make a strong and memorable first impression on your guests. For more details, do not hesitate to contact us or take a virtual tour of our premises!