As a professional, whether you’re an attorney, accountant, executive assistant, mechanic, etc., you need to constantly look for ways to improve your appeal to potential customers. When you’re working in professional services, there are a few things that, once perfected, can have a major impact on your client acquisition and retention.
- Exercise your voice
Some people are natural speakers and can chat for hours on end with clients and prospects. Others are parched immediately and require constant water guzzling or peppermint to get through a basic discussion. Even if your company has the best products for a customer, if you look too nervous to state your pitch, you may wind up looking unprofessional, or worse, dishonest. This can become a bigger problem if you are speaking on a panel or at a convention where well-spoken competitors may be within a few feet of your booth.
Take the time to develop a few core talking points that you feel very comfortable delivering to a client or prospect. You can develop a sense of comfort with these talking points through repetition and personal practice. Speaking aloud, to yourself (or your dog/cat), will help you feel more comfortable hearing your own voice and help you appear more confident to your customers and prospects.
- Taste test at another time
For many professionals, meetings with clients and prospects may take place over a meal. It has become a standard in certain industries and is sometimes an obstacle to be overcome. You might be a foodie with an adventurous palate, but business meetings are not the time to become a taste tester.
The idea of spicy maki rolls or cheesy artichoke pasta initially may sound very tasty, but if that new dish doesn’t agree with your stomach, it might overshadow your conversation. If you’re off to the restroom constantly, you may miss a valuable client altogether. Of course, there are times when new foods at client meetings are unavoidable, but try to stay within your known repertoire of stomach friendly foods.
- Always invest in copy editors
A copy editor’s entire job is to find all of the grammatical and spelling errors that you could possibly miss. Self-editing may seem like a simple task, but it’s too easy to overlook egregious errors. Don’t be the company with typos all over your website, in emails and on handouts. Invest in an editor.
If you can’t afford to hire a dedicated copy editor, use friends and family. It is always better to have a second set of eyes reviewing your core messages before they hit your audience. Another alternative is to work with a production company such as Porath Print Source. At Porath, we review copy constantly. Our goal is to make our clients and their projects look as good as possible.
- Power off the cell phones
We all understand how important you are and how you need to be available 24/7 for current and potential customers. But, when you’re with a customer or prospective customer, you have to remember that they are the most important person in that room.
You need to be able to provide your clients with your undivided attention in order to prove to them that you take them and their business very seriously. The last thing you want to do is sit in a meeting constantly checking a cell phone, texting or scurrying off to answer random calls. Being more invested in your own cell calls could make the client invest in another phone number, too: your competitor.
- Leave a lasting impression
All of the things listed above are meant to leave an impression, one of strict professionalism. But, in addition to a “feeling” that you’d like your customers and prospects to have, you also want to leave them with a physical impression of you and your business. A business card is nice (and we’d be happy to design and print them for you), but there are other things that you can use to provide an even more lasting impression. Something as simple as a customized presentation folder, a Tab TalkerTM, could keep your company’s name on a potential client’s mind long after you’ve left the building. The Tab TalkerTM is a unique presentation folder designed to fit into a standard file drawer with your business contact information clearly visible along with any other information you want available to your customers. The client doesn’t have to dig up how to reach your company, and they are reminded of you and your professionalism every time they open their file drawer.
While the old adage “you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” may be true, we strongly believe that every impression matters. Every time you “touch” your customer or prospect, you’re making an impression that can make or break your business. Perfecting your professional presence is about being consistent while developing rapport. Following the tips we provided will help you get there, and, in doing so, will lead to lasting business relationships and increased opportunities.