Are you familiar with the saying ‘first impressions count?’ In business, it’s imperative to make a fantastic first impression. You never get a second chance to make the right first impression. If you run a new business or you’re trying to recruit new clients and customers, here are some tips to help you get it right first time.
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If you run the show, and you’re involved in meeting with potential investors, clients, and buyers, you should always remember that you are part of the marketing strategy. The people you talk to will make decisions based not only on what you tell them, but also on how you carry yourself, whether you look the part, and what kind of impression you give them. Are you a passionate person who can convince investors that you’ll do everything you can to make the business a success? Or do you leave clients in two minds? You have to know your stuff, but you also have to look professional and have conviction in what you say.
If you’re pitching to a buyer, for example, make sure you are prepared. You are trying to convince that person to place an order, but also to put their trust in you. Run through your presentation over and over again, and ensure you have the answers to questions that are likely to pop up. Pin down the numbers, and make sure you can rattle through projected sales figures, market values and proposed RRPs without taking a breath. It’s so important to be slick, but also to be passionate. Share your story, and make your pitch interesting and personal. The panel will sit through endless presentations, so don’t make yours blend in. Dress smartly, make sure you smell fresh, and always arrive on time.
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If you employ a sales team or you have people going out and meeting clients as part of their day job, the same rules should apply. Promote a dress code, make sure any branded vehicles look smart and well-maintained and encourage your team to be punctual and professional. Whether you run a plumbing business or a restaurant, your clients will judge the company based on the service they receive, and it’s essential that the people who provide that service are on board with what you’re trying to achieve. The food in your restaurant could be fantastic, but if it takes ages or the server is rude or unhelpful, you’re not going to get anywhere.
If you’ve created a brilliant brand, the last thing you want is your marketing material to let you down. You don’t want an incredible tagline and great imaging to be let down by cheap looking or run of the mill brochures, pens, key rings, notepads or posters. Anything that bears your company name, from a professional looking invoice template to flyers you put through the door and Facebook pages you use to advertise your services, should send the right message. When you’re drawing up a marketing strategy, always bear the aesthetics in mind. Don’t just go for the cheapest options. Think about how you feel when you look at different flyers, adverts or websites. If you were looking for a printing firm, a bar or a building company, what would make you choose one business over another? Put yourself in the client’s shoes, and don’t underestimate the importance of feedback and market research.
Your business premises
If your day to day business involves people coming into your offices, you don’t want them to walk through the door and be greeted with dirty carpets, unpleasant odours or lifts that are out of order. Your office should set the right tone, and it should be a clean, modern space, which is inviting for clients and comfortable for your employees. If you’re currently renting an office space, which is in serious need of TLC, consider moving or hosting client meetings in alternative settings. You don’t want people to have negative impressions before you’ve even opened your mouth to introduce yourself.
It’s human nature to make judgements very quickly. Sadly, in business, first impressions often count for everything. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so it’s essential to understand how to succeed the first time around. Make sure you look the part and set a good example for your team. Arrive on time, and ensure you look smart. If you’re pitching or meeting potential customers, rehearse your presentation until you’re confident that you know everything there is to know, and you’ll be able to stand up, speak clearly, and tackle any tricky questions. Focus on producing professional looking marketing materials, and ensure that anything that carries your brand name or logo conveys the message you want to go out there.by