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Master The First Impression: How to Earn New Clients
March 08, 2020
Master The First Impression: How to Earn New Clients

Master The First Impression: How to Earn New Clients

Do you believe that a first impression makes a difference? It’s a crucial component when trying to earn new clients, as people will often size up a person in minutes. 

Have you ever met someone who didn’t make a good impression on you? When that happens, you’re more likely to look for ways to end the conversation. You don’t want to spend more time than you have to with this person.

This article will help you learn how to make a good first impression. When you know how to achieve this, you can successfully obtain new clients for your business. 

Why First Impressions Matter

First impressions matter because people have choices. When you’re dating, you get to choose who you go out with. When you’re looking for clients, chances are the competition for their business will be fierce.

When people have choices, they don’t want to waste a lot of time in the selection process. Everyone is busy. Therefore, you have only minutes to get this person to decide you are worthy of their time.

Trust is another factor that makes first impressions matter. When people lack trust in others, it’ll be difficult for those others to turn the situation around. People assess trust within minutes of a first encounter.

You’ll often hear the phrase, don’t judge a book by its cover. It’s good advice, but people don’t often follow it when meeting others. The problem is the subconscious takes over and warns you that there is something not right about a person you meet. It’s just the way people are wired.

When you master the skill of making a good first impression, everything seems to go your way thereafter. Potential clients will be more willing to listen to your pitch or to accept a future meeting with you. Your potential to close more sales will increase.

It’s likely that our early ancestors used first impressions as a defense mechanism. When someone met up with a stranger, they had to quickly decide whether the stranger was a friend or foe. Survival depended on it.

The first step of a good impression is crucial, but you should not rely on it completely. Many second interviews fizzle out because candidates believed the first interview would get them the job. You have to keep the momentum going after that first impression.

Unfortunately, people may not always be good judges of character. However, you can counter this issue by learning how to make a good impression.

How To Make A Great First Impression

You can learn how to make a great first impression. Many people mistakenly believe that it’s something you’re born with. It’s true that some people pick up the concept quicker than others, but anybody can learn it.

The tips in the following sections will help you strengthen your ability to impress people. You’ll have an advantage over your colleagues and competitors. The question that remains is how you’ll handle all the new business you’ll receive once you use these tips? It’ll certainly increase your confidence, too.

Mastering The Handshake

It may be hard to believe that a handshake matters when you encounter someone new, but it does. It’s a protocol that has existed throughout history. In fact, it’s believed that warriors extended their hands as a gesture to prove they held no weapons. The gesture has evolved as a common greeting in social settings.

The handshake is an important aspect of making a good first impression, and learning how to master it can help. The common convention is to maintain a comfortable body distance where extending your hand is easy for both parties. If you’re too far away, you’ll have to stretch, and being too close makes the other person uncomfortable.

Another convention is to extend your right hand. People who are left-handed may feel a bit out of place, but without a convention, the handshake exchange would be awkward. 

It’s customary for the grip to be firm but not too firm. You aren’t looking to create a vice grip. A suitably firm handshake denotes confidence. You also want to try to avoid shaking when your palm is sweaty, although this can be difficult when people are nervous.

Once you grasp the hand, shake one or two times with small motions. Too many shakes and with large motions can create an awkward situation.

Mastering The Handshake

Work On Your Appearance

A suit was once the standard business attire, but most businesses don’t require employees to wear them anymore. A business casual environment is more the norm for clothing. Sometimes, it’s a stretch what people will consider business casual. It may even seem as though appearances don’t matter.

However, appearances do make a difference regarding first impressions. It pays to be professional when you approach someone for the first time. In a business setting, wearing a suit will always be deemed as appropriate. Occasionally, meeting organizers will specify business casual attire, which makes it acceptable.

Keep up with the modern trends, but dress appropriately for your age. If not, that first impression won’t be good. If you’re planning on meeting several people for your business, consider hiring a personal stylist. This person can put together the right look and help you keep on track when changes occur.

In A Digital Age, Still Carry Business Cards

Did you know that business cards are still a valuable business tool? In fact, if you don’t have one, you run the risk of leaving a bad first impression. You and your staff should carry them at all times.

Many people believe that business cards are no longer viable due to technology. People can capture each others’ contact information with the touch of a button on their smartphones or other devices. However, business cards offer another way to get your brand in front of potential clients.

The design of your card should contain branding about your company. Many people are adding QR codes. A QR code is a specialized barcode. Potential clients can use their smartphones to scan the information from this code.

It’s often easier for people to accept a small business card than to use an app that doesn’t work as well as it should. At conferences, a speaker may ask participants to place their business cards into a container. It’s not likely the speaker will try to exchange contact information of each participant via smartphones. 

You won’t get a response from every person you give a business card. However, you won’t get a response from every digital contact you exchange, either.

In A Digital Age, Still Carry Business Cards

Become An Expert In Compelling Small Talk

A good first impression includes conversations that flow. After the initial contact, people often have nothing left to say, leaving each with the awkward position of finding a way out. When you become an expert in compelling small talk, you won’t have to worry about this situation again.

People have lost the art of small talk largely due to their obsessions with smart devices. Before these devices, it was easier to strike up a conversation. 

To improve your small talk skills, understand that it’s often not what you say but how you say it. You can use simple words that can pack a punch when you present them with energy. 

People love to talk about themselves, so take an interest in their stories. It makes the conversation easy because they do all the talking. You’ll get the credit for being a master of the conversation. All you have to do is ask questions about them.

Try to use humor in your conversations. If you don’t think you’re funny, use a self-deprecating style. Picking on yourself in a fun manner is safe and easy. Just don’t put yourself down too much, as that will have the opposite effect.

Master The First Impression: How to Earn New Clients Infographic



Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to make a good first impression as an introvert?

It takes a little more work, but it’s entirely possible for introverts to make a good first impression. The information in this article can help get you started. You can also master a few good conversation starters to break the ice.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].