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First impressions are everything in business, just as they are in our personal lives. As a branding coach, I understand how important the first 5 seconds of exposure are to getting the attention you need from potential clients and customers. Presenting quality and a memorable experience, whether it is via the Internet or in person, is one of the first steps to building a successful business. If you present a dated, boring, or inappropriate image to potential customers, clients or business partners, it could be difficult to ever change their minds about you. Fortunately, there are some tricks to making the best first impression for your business. Here are my top 7 things you can do to knock ’em dead from the get go!
Best First Impression Tip #1: Work on Your Personal Image
When you run a business, the people behind the brand are what really matters. This is even more so if you have a small business, perhaps with only you running the show. The image you present has to be reflective of not only you but the kind of business you own.
Personal image is not just your looks but also how you act and speak. Furthermore, you want all of these things to be 100% you, so others get a clear picture of who you are. If you need to tweak some things like your style and presentation skills, ask a trusted friend, family or hire a coach or consultant to advise you. It’s also important to consider your personal image both online and in person.
Best First Impression Tip #2: Develop a Quality Professional Website
Creating a professional website is an essential part of making a good first impression. For many people, your website will be the first thing they come across when dealing with your business. It needs to clearly tell people what your business is all about. If your website is out of date or just boring, why would anyone stick around for more of that? You need to use your site to show people what your priorities are. One of those priorities should be giving your customers a better experience. So your website needs to be easy for visitors to use and provide helpful information and services.
Best First Impression Tip #3: Produce Smart Printed Business Materials
You should also be able to present yourself visually in live interactions. As well as having smart graphics and informative content on your website, consider your use of print materials, too. For example, business cards are always a good way to leave information in the hands of others. They are handy when you’re networking and can be a plus for scouting new potential clients. You also might use print materials for direct mail or for display purposes. You should consider the quality and, of course, the style of the materials you use. They can leave a lasting impression, especially when people keep them for a long time.
Best First Impression Tip #4: Use a Call Answering Service
People might have their first contact with your business in various ways. One of them is via the telephone. Some small business owners try to answer all their own calls, but this can be tricky. You might mix them up with personal calls or not have time to answer them. If your business has outgrown the ability to be efficient on the phone, a call answering service can help by using personal greetings and taking messages for you. Companies like Capital Office provide virtual office services to help make your business be more professional. Anyone who calls will speak to someone who presents an excellent first impression for your business.
Best First Impression Tip #5: Create Communication Policies
Businesses often communicate in a variety of ways these days. Apart from the telephone, mail, and email, they might use chat applications and social media. With so many different communication channels to keep track of, it can be hard to always present the right image. You might have different people managing your communication lines or perhaps just one person doing it all. No matter what setup you have, it’s a good idea to create policies regarding how to talk to people. You can set guidelines, so you have consistency throughout all communication avenues.
Best First Impression Tip #6: Language Matters
If you’re going to create communication guidelines for your business, it’s important to work on your communication, too. You need to make sure you’re using the right language to reach the people who are your ideal clients. I believe that individual personality has a lot to do with how people want to be spoken to. If you’re working on a B2B deal (business-to-business), you’ll likely talk to the people in the meetings you attend differently than how you might speak to a customer. Know your audience and speak to them using language that resonates with them.
Best First Impression Tip #7: Get the Branding Right
It can be easy to overlook some of the seemingly basic moves you need to make to create a good first impression in business. In fact, some of the basics are huge decisions that can follow your business everywhere. For example, there’s the name and tagline of your business, as well as the domain you choose for your website. These could be attached to you for a long time, so they need to say the right thing about your business. Don’t rush any of these decisions if you want to ensure you give the right impression. I teach women how to brand businesses that reflect their unique feminine personality. You can’t go wrong with presenting authenticity and your personal gifts.