It’s all about the first impression

It’s all in the details, especially when you are trying to grow your business and acquire more clients. Potential customers have all sorts of choices out there, so one way for you to beat your competition is to present yourself in a better light than them. The first contact you make with a potential client will set an impression in their mind. And unfortunately, that impression could be nearly impossible to change no matter what you do, so you should always try your hardest to make a great first impression.

Telephone manners … how are yours? No matter if you are answering your personal phone or business phone, if there is a chance the person calling could be a potential client or anyone business related, you should answer professionally. Any potential client could become a big/important client, so they all should be treated like one. Best place to start off is by answering in a professional manner and then you can switch to a more casual mode if you find out it’s a personal call. So, what do business-like phone manners include? Answering in a serious voice with a prompt introduction, paying full attention to your caller and returning calls promptly. It’s also necessary to make sure your voicemail message is professional and descriptive, providing the caller with your name and business information.

When it comes to emails and text messages — even if you normally use shortened “text speak” — when you are communicating with your clients, you should use full sentences, full words and proper grammar. Take the extra minute or two to spell out full words and use punctuation to make your messages professional and easier for your recipients to read. Also, always return messages from your clients (no matter if they’re potential, present or past) as soon as possible. Clients who think and feel that you value their attention are more likely to hire you for their project(s).

Are you always on time to your client meetings? There really isn’t any excuse for being carelessly late for a client meeting. Sure, we all know things happen … but if anything comes up, calling your client as soon as you realize you might be late is necessary. Hopefully by calling, you can make up for any negative impression the tardiness might otherwise cause. And if you have a habit of being late to everything, it’s time to break that bad habit. If you think showing up within a half hour is close enough,. you’re wrong. That is insulting to any potential clients that are waiting for you. You definitely don’t want to give off the vibe that your time is more valuable and important than theirs so you need to do everything you can to make sure that you show up before you’re supposed to … for each and every client meeting.

After the initial contact is made with a potential client, always do your homework and let your customer know that you’ve done it. It might not hurt to print things out for your potential customers either and provide them with those print-outs at your first meeting. That way, they can see on paper what your reasoning for your bid price and any estimates are. Not only will this help with communication but it will also show your potential client that you aren’t trying to hide anything from them. And the best part? That could end up putting you in a more positive light than other construction companies that your potential client might be talking to. Even if they are offering cheaper work, you were more prepared which could easily win out over price. Prior to the meeting, also try to anticipate any questions that they might have and be prepared to answer them. The more you already know about the job, the better and more professional you’ll look, which can only add to your bottom line.

And the last piece of advice? Always assume everyone is a potential client. Not only should you have this attitude when talking with people but no matter where you’re at, what you’re doing, etc., there is a chance that you could encounter someone who is in need of your services. Even if you meet someone who isn’t in need of them right now, there is a chance for a great project/opportunity down the road as long as you make a great impression and provide them with your information.


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