Picture a scenario where you have the opportunity to engage with a potentially new client, who happens to be a referral from one of your best clients. Sounds pretty good so far, doesn’t it? Well imagine arriving at the potential client site, you’re of course eager to get in there and earn new business…but then it hits you. You know nothing about the company, what their current needs are, you’re even drawing a blank on the business owners name! Nerves are beginning to take over and you’re starting to lose your train of thought, causing you to ramble throughout the whole meeting, which can result in a not so great 1st impression. Feel a crisis coming on? So do I. This is a situation that definitely could have been avoided all by following 3 essential steps to making a 1st impression, so shut up and enjoy!
When engaging with someone for the first time, no matter the circumstances, always remember that preparation is key. Where this may seem obvious, I must point out that this step needs to be taken prior to your engagement, so set some time aside and prepare, even if it’s for only 15 minutes. The key objective when following this 1st step is to start from the top and work your way down, this will help your thoughts organized. Starting from the top includes company-wide research, this can be as simple as glancing through the company website and social media sites. Working your way down simply includes but not limited to getting to know who your engaging with, LinkedIn is the best place to start. And of course, remember the, “why.” (Why you’re having this meeting in the first place) Prepare yourself with questions to ask and you’re ready to go.
You made it past the 1st step, you’re ready for meeting! Step 2 is crucial during your 1st engagement with anyone – silence is golden, be a good listener. Silence is not just golden; it is a skill and anyone else who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something. Listening is much more effective than dominating the conversation, it allows the ones your engaging with to do the talking and that’s a powerful thing. It shows that you’re taking an interest in their thoughts, which will make them feel trust in you and your business. But don’t forget to ask questions; you already have them ready from the previous step!
The 1st engagement is over; you can relax now! Well not exactly, your 1st impression doesn’t end here – there’s still one more step to follow and that is your follow up. Following up seems to be one of those tasks that gets overlooked and forgotten about - don’t be that guy, always follow up! All that’s required here is sending an email, LinkedIn message, postcard – the list goes on. Following up is your opportunity to leave a significant 1st impression, don’t let it go to waste. And remember, no one gets the chance to take the next step if the follow up doesn’t happen.