In this frenetic marketplace, creating a lasting impression on your prospects and clients – so they become loyal as repeat buyers – your approach should include seven tactics.
You don’t have to take drastic steps to captivate your audience.
It might seem challenging to create a memorable impression, but the trick is simply not to take shortcuts.
Here are seven tactics:
1. Create an instant favorable impression
Remember you must consistently wear a “uniform.” You only have a split second to create a favorable lasting impression. Always be consistent.
If you want someone’s money, and to earn lot of it, you have to show you’re worth it. So if you want a CEO’s business, you must demonstrate you’re a peer. That means the stereotypical dressing for success; in particular for relationships with high net worth prospects.
From casually dressed CEOs, you’re likely to get instant feedback. Many small business owners will mention you’re dressed better than they are, but they will always appreciate your professional appearance.
When casually dressed clients questioned my habit of wearing dark suits, I merely replied it was my uniform to keep me on my toes to create high performance for them.
After all, that’s why they hired me; some have been for 15+ continuous years. Why? Intuitive clients know that you’re treating them as an important event.
Even if you’re not selling at the senior-executive level, a professional appearance is still the ticket to success.
A little quirkiness might help. In today’s increasingly casual society, a dark wool suit with a white shirt and silk tie qualifies in order for you to stand out and in some circles is considered to be quirky.
Years ago, as a young manager I worked with an intriguing woman who was very successful in sales. Her initial trademark was a stylish hat with her professional dress. It would still work today.
2. Be a catalyst for positive emotional responses
Every buying decision is based on emotions. For many clients, it means making them feel special.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” wrote author and poet Maya Angelou.
In addition, smile and be open to opportunities to make people laugh. Especially, compliment their business or employees.
3. Show a personal interest
After your opening value-proposition, the best way is to start a conversation is to ask pertinent, open-ended questions.
People don’t care what you have to say until they have their say. So be an engaged listener with good eye contact, which promotes trust. Effective listening skills will improve your relationships and business performance.
What counts in communication? Listening skills for discernment and trust. Discerning people are the most successful and listening skills are important for discernment. That goes for athletes and management, alike.
Avoid marginalizing your client and the employees.
In conversations, don’t make the mistake of being preoccupied – trying to think of what to say next in the break of the discussion – only to jump in with a remark. Be attentive, periodically nodding yes, so that the person feels important and validated.
The most talkative people are often the most annoying.
4. Be authentic
Be blunt and honest, and perhaps controversial – with a caveat. A word of caution – be honest without being insulting or sarcastic. The Greek word for sarcasm, sarcazo, literally means to tear flesh.
5. Be somewhat unusual
For instance, when you’re asked “how are you?”, reply with self-effacing humor.
If someone compliments you on your branding or publicity, reply with something like “Yes, that’s just my shameless self promotion.”
6. Watch your posture
People notice confident posture and body language. Not only will you look great and avoid a sore back, you’ll be memorable.
Act like a confident, top-shelf entertainer. Always look up, not down.
7. If you make a mistake, flaunt it.
Show you’re human. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
In my consulting practice, I’ve made two seemingly crucial mistakes – in both cases, I forgot to do something I promised. In two critical situations, I promised additional training sessions at no charge but simply forgot about them because I failed to write them on my calendar.
So, in one case I showed up voicing an apology with pecan pies with paper plates, napkins and forks for each employee. I served each of them. The client laughed hysterically in appreciation because I demonstrated my humanness.
In another, I walked into my client’s business and walked the length of a huge lobby dusting imaginary food off my tie. My CEO client spotted me and asked: “Corbell, what the hell are you doing?”
My response: “I’ve been eating crow. I’m sorry for missing the meeting.”
Again, my client laughed heartedly and replied: “You eat crow better than anyone I’ve ever met.” (A client of nearly 20 years.)
From the Coach’s Corner, here is additional relevant reading:
The 7 Steps to Higher Sales — Secrets for sales success – seven steps to higher sales, five value perceptions that motivate customers to buy, and the three-step process for overcoming sales objections.
Tips for Building Long-Term Client Relationships with Effective Meetings — Signs you have good client relationships: They’ll thank you regularly, pay your invoices promptly, and will respond well to your recommendations. If you don’t have all three of these, here’s what to do.
Consultants – 5 Strategies to Build Trust with Clients — The five strategies that enhance relationships between consultants and clients.
Profits: Size Doesn’t Matter but Image, Professionalism Count — Appearances and professionalism can make your small business seem huge. If you look as though you’re substantial and that you can handle anything thrown your way – your odds for success improve dramatically. That’s especially true in this economy. Clients and customers will often prefer dealing with you as a small firm – if the job doesn’t appear too big for you to handle. So it’s best to look the part.
The most talkative people are often the most annoying.