While it would be great to come as you are to any client meeting, some level of clients expect a certain look from their service providers. If you’re working to land a multi-million dollar contract, or sell a high-end home, you don’t want to roll in wearing Wal-Mart jeans and a dirty t-shirt. Unfortunately, people still judge a book by its cover, so it is important to show up to client meetings looking your very best. While not everyone wants or can afford luxurious cars, fancy suits, and high-end accessories, there are plenty of ways to impress clients (and potential clients) without breaking the bank.
1. Be On Time
If you have a meeting scheduled for a particular time, do not make your client wait. Time is money and your client will not be impressed if you’re late, thereby wasting their money. Show up early if you must, but short of an emergency, there should be no reason to make your client sit around looking at their watches. Being on time shows that you value the client and the client’s greatest resource. Being on time costs you nothing in dollars but offers you incredible opportunities.
2. Be Prepared
Preparation is critical if you want to impress clients. The best service providers learn everything they can about their potential clients before they show up the first time. They do as much preliminary research as possible so they can ensure they offer the best solutions for the client’s needs. They don’t want to be caught off-guard by something that they could have know if they had taken the time to discover it. Alexander Graham Bell once said that “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” If you’re not prepared, you’re missing the key. Preparation won’t cost you money, but lack of preparation may cost you a client.
3. Be Kind
Some clients can come off gruff and rude. This doesn’t give you license to do the same. Kindness goes a long way, especially with clients who may have tried other solutions or service providers that didn’t meet their needs. They may already be frustrated and angry and unfortunately you end up at the receiving end of their stress. Kindness can help diffuse the situation and perhaps even turn a potential client into a paying client. Not only is kindness good for your health, it can help you win in business and in life. It doesn’t mean you become a doormat, just that you treat people with dignity and respect. In some cases, when they don’t deserve it. Kindness isn’t expensive and anyone can do it.
4. Dress For Success
How you dress depends on the industry you’re in and your clientele base. But you’ll impress clients when you dress accordingly. It shows that you value yourself, your expertise, and your client. If you’re a personal trainer, come dressed and ready. If you’re a real estate agent, make sure you look professional. If you’re about to close a high-end deal…well, you get the picture. Dressing for success doesn’t mean you need an Armani suit if you can’t afford one, but it does mean that you come looking and feeling like the professional you are.
5. Buy Gently Used Luxury Items
Speaking of that Armani suit, you can save big money if you buy one used. It’s easy enough to hire a good tailor to ensure it fits you accurately, but for those of you just starting in your industry or who need to look the part, gently used luxury items will save you a big chunk of change. People love their high-end accessories as well. So if you have the suit, you might as well pick up a pre-owned A Lange Söhne watch. A good jeweler will only sell the most impeccable watches, so you can be assured they are genuine and in top working order. When you’re on the path to success, you can easily celebrate your wins with these
6. Make Eye Contact
Have you noticed how few people make eye contact these days? People are so used to looking down at devices that it feels awkward to connect with someone in the eyes. Eye contact communicates confidence, competence, and boldness in a way that looking down or away cannot. While you don’t want to stare, you do need to practice make eye contact if you want to impress your clients. Plus, it costs nothing.
7. Have a Firm Handshake
No one likes a wet noodle handshake. A firm (dry) handshake goes a long way to impress your client. Obviously, some people have stronger handshakes than others, so it’s vital you also don’t overdo it and crush your client’s hand. However, if you’ve done your research and your potential client is not American, it may help you to learn other ways to greet them.
8. Don’t Hide Your Costs
No one wants to sign up for something to later realize what they need is going to cost 25% more than they had planned. Share the costs up front for the entire project. Include a buffer for unforeseen expenses, and any other miscellaneous fees that you charge. Clients are not happy when they didn’t know about costs up front. Show your value, share the costs, and give the ask to your clients. Being forthright is an affordable way to impress your clients.
9. Answer Their Questions
New clients especially have a lot of questions. It can feel tedious repeating the answers over and over again, but you need to remember that for this client, it’s the first time they are hearing the answer. You’ll impress them more easily if you quickly answer their questions, and help them feel confident and excited to work with you.
Impressing high-end clients isn’t all about looking wealthy by the car your drive and the clothes you wear. Impressing clients has more to do with how you behave and how you treat them from the first point of contact, all the way through project completion. Don’t discount the power of kindness and honesty in 2021. You’d be surprised how they can go a long way to building client trust and respect.