In a world where fast-paced technology dominates everything we do, the amount of personal contact is decreasing, leaving many first impressions at the mercy of an email sent from a smartphone.
But despite our reliance on technology, it’s important that we not lose the basics of our relationship skills. We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard when it comes to dealing with people, because ultimately it’s good business to make a solid first impression.
Here are some things we can do today to make sure each impression is a good one:
1. Send a handwritten letter instead of an email after meeting someone new or adding a customer. This may feel archaic, but that person will take notice and know that you went the extra mile to make him or her feel important. I’m not talking about a form letter that you stamp a signature onto, but a letter they know you personally wrote and signed.
2. Be professional in how you dress and how you conduct yourself. It is very acceptable in today’s society to dress down or settle for basic etiquette. But first impressions are everything, and we should make the other person feel important. Treat them as if you were meeting with the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Make sure your appearance and actions send the right message.
3. Add value. Find ways to add products or services to a contract the customer didn’t expect. By doing a little more than expected, you will stand out to the customer and help build a stronger relationship. You can also add value by introducing the CEO to other potential customers or suppliers that can offer additional help.
4. Stand out. Do something that keeps you top of mind, such as sending a small gift, book or article you think is of interest. Continue doing this throughout the relationship.
Be vigilant about these things, because impressions can last forever. A blown opportunity to impress a potential new customer won’t come again. ●
President and CEO
Smart Business Network Inc. is the publisher of Smart Business Magazine and operates SBN Interactive, a content marketing firm.
Fred is committed to focusing on relationships, not transactions, in everything he does.