This is a contribution from business and financial freelance writer Jenny Holt.

As an entrepreneur, you probably already know this, but it’s always good to have a reminder every once in a while. To put it simply, first impressions count…big time. Think back to your last encounter with a new client. Were you on point and ready to take on any questions? Or were you just going through the motions?

It sounds simple, but it’s all a matter of self-discipline. You should always be ready for a challenge, even if you’re having the worst day ever. Below are some great tips for maintaining that discipline and making the best first impression.

Show Interest in People

Get to know new clients before you pitch your services to them. Ask questions about their family, hobbies, or travel experiences. Think about what would elicit a positive response from you if you were in that client’s shoes.

Meet In Presentable Surroundings

The place where you choose to meet speaks volumes about how successful your operations are. If you need to welcome clients at your own premises, then it’s essential to maintain a presentable and clean environment that is pleasant to do business in. If you’re operating on a shoestring budget as a startup, then it would be best to meet in a more neutral space such as a restaurant or hotel.  

Your Actions Should Exude Confidence

There’s nothing like a firm handshake to let a potential client know you’re on top of things. People remember that. They also remember good posture, a smile, and a positive attitude. All of those things ooze confidence, which can only benefit you in the long run.

Maintain Eye Contact

It’s hard to make a real connection with a new client if you can’t look them in the eye. Eye contact shows you’re paying attention to what they have to say and care about learning more. Eye contact will also help you focus on the situation and keep you engaged throughout the conversation.

Put the Cell Phone Away

If you’re looking for the perfect way to turn off your next big client, try ignoring them and checking Facebook on your phone instead. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you took precious time out of your day to meet with someone who wants your business only to feel less valued than their cell phone? Turn the cell phone off or at the very least, mute the sound and put it away.

Do Your Homework

Think of this first meeting as a job interview. You want to make a good impression on the “interviewer” by showing them you know your stuff, and you’ve done your due diligence. Always research the person you’re meeting, their company history, and their needs in advance. You’d never walk into an interview without doing your homework first. The same is true for business.



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