When greeting a customer, you only have 5 seconds to make a good first impression. Therefore, the way you approach your customer will have a lasting impact on them and will likely drive the direction of your relationship with them from that point forward.
Here are some tips to give you the advantage when greeting customers initially:
- Have a positive attitude. Keep your conversation lighthearted, yet professional. Maintaining a positive attitude while conducting business is a great way to begin a business relationship.
- Greet with their name. Greet them using their name, and make sure you continue using it throughout the conversation. Don't overdo it, but using their name puts them at ease and helps them feel like you care about them personally and professionally.
- Keep good notes—keep it personal and professional. Ask a few personal questions as "icebreakers", and then move into professional mode. Make sure you maintain your lighthearted attitude while getting down to business. Keep good notes of your conversation so that when you are finished with your meeting, you will have a good record of what was discussed.
- Keep focus on customer—not on self. Especially if you are meeting your customer for the first time, keep your focus on your customer and their needs. Keep any conversation surrounding you to a minimum, and enable the customer to talk about themselves. Most people like to hear themselves talk, so training yourself to be an excellent listener will make the difference in building an effective business relationship with your customer.
- Ask specifically how you can help them. Once you have a good idea of what they need, ask how they want you to help them. Be specific about the products and services your company provides, and ask them which ones they believe would most effectively meet their needs.
- Smile. Keep smiling. This helps keep things friendly and upbeat through the course of the business conversation.
- Shake hands properly. Regardless of your gender, make sure you have a firm handshake. A firm handshake exudes confidence in yourself, your company, and in your ability to transact business effectively. Females should especially pay attention to this, as most males expect women to have a handshake that resembles a dead fish. Make sure that you have a firm handshake, grip the other individual's hand, and let go.
- Make steady eye contact. Along with a strong handshake, steady eye contact is very important in making an excellent first impression. Throughout the conversation, make sure you look your client in the eyes as much as possible without seeming overbearing. This will help you to appear confident and will develop trust within your client as you continue working with them.
- Have an agenda ready. Before you ever walk into the office of a client, have an agenda prepared. If possible, advance a copy to the customer so they are as prepared as you are to discuss business at hand. This will also help build you up in the eyes of your customer and ensure you are one step ahead of your competitors.
Regardless of the situation in which you find yourself, using all or some of these key tips will help you to build strong relationships quickly as you seek out new business. Good luck!
Information is for educational and informational purposes only and is not be interpreted as financial or legal advice. This does not represent a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security. Please consult your financial advisor.