You can only make a first impression once. In the world of business, this adage may bear a bigger and longer lasting significance. After all, there are many people out there who are in the same line of business who will snatch every opportunity you miss.
Whether you are meeting with prospective clients so you can finally make money from home or trying to market your company to consumers, the impression you give off can make or break a deal.
According to renowned psychology professorAlbert Mehrabian, what you say and don’t say both have an impact on people’s perception of you. He said that only 7% of your impression comes from your verbal communication but how you sound makes up 38% while 55% comes from how you fare visually. You can leverage this knowledge by applying it to Entrepreneurship 101: How to Make a Good First Impression.
Here’s how to do it:
#1 Dress to Impress
No, it isn’t vanity. Dressing to impress means you’re already gearing towards success. Remember, 55% of how you communicate is visual. When clients see you, are they going to see a partner whose business is worth investing? Is the way you dress and carry yourself giving customers the confidence that they are doing business with a trustworthy entrepreneur?
#2 Respect Time
Is your meeting at 8 o’clock? Make sure to arrive at the venue ahead of time. If the meeting is taking place on your turf, let clients see you are prepared when they arrive. Did you agree that the product presentation is only for 30 minutes? Make sure your prospects don’t stay longer than half an hour. Better yet, wrap up early so they have time to ask questions.
How you handle another person’s time reflects how you respect them. Showing up at a meeting on time or wrapping up within the agreed schedule also shows your word of honor. If you want people to trust you with their business, show them that they can trust you with their time.
#3 Be a Good Listener
Another way of showing your trustworthiness is by being a good listener. In fact, your listening skills are just as important as your verbal skills. You can’t always say the right thing if you don’t pay attention to what the other person is telling you.
When your client or customer is talking, make sure to keep eye contact. Nod to show your agreement or to encourage them to open up without interrupting them. Wait for your turn to talk and put aside other tasks. When you assure people that they are heard, you make them feel valued. Valued people go out
of their way to support your cause.
#4 Mind Your Body Language
The way people feel around you has a lot to do with your body language. Do you want to exude confidence? Stop fidgeting and maintain eye contact when talking to people. Do you want to assure people you’re interested in what they have to say? Leaning in and nodding from time to time lets them know you’re into the conversation. Keeping a good posture, making appropriate hand gestures, and even smiling from time to time show self-assuredness that will put people at ease around you.
You can make customers feel relaxed or persuade partners to invest in your trade. The secret? Influence the atmosphere with your body language.
#5 Be Memorable
You must decide what makes your company a cut above the rest. What do your products have that others don’t? Go the extra mile by adding small details such as a handwritten Thank You note or special packaging.
Do you want to be known for having excellent customer service?Hire a remote office assistant to answer calls and respond to emails promptly and helpfully. Remember that first impressions can start even before people have met you face-to-face.
Now that you know Entrepreneurship 101, you’re guaranteed to make a good first impression.
Catherine vanVonno, the author, is the President and Executive Director of 20Four7VA, a global Virtual Assistant (VA) Service Provider. She holds a doctorate degree in Applied Statistics, Research Design and Program Evaluation from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and has over 10 years experience in facilitating evidence-based strategic planning, product development, brand management, legislative communications, and medical policy. She is married and has four children. You can reach her at http://20four7va.com/|twitter.com/20Four7VA