They say that there’s nothing quite as strong as a first impression. When you’re working with a new client you want them to feel comfortable with you as a person and trusting that your services are the right fit for their needs. The first meet and greet can make all of the difference. Sure, you can meet them at a coffee shop and go over your proposal, but it can be so much more impactful to have them into your office for an intimate discussion. Here are some things you can do to help put your clients at ease when it counts the most.
First of All, Be Prepared
Before you consider anything else, you have to make sure that you’re on top of your game. Make sure that your proposal is as thoroughly fleshed out as possible. You want to show them how much value you can bring to their organization, and you want to look like you have spent the time needed to come up with an actionable plan. Do some research about them and their organization so it will be clear that you are familiar with their needs.
Beyond the proposal, you’ll want to make sure that you’re dressed to impress. Make sure your outfit is professional and is complementary to the kind of business you’re working with. You don’t necessarily need to be wearing a suite, but jeans and a t-shirt are probably not the best attire if you’re meeting a client for the first time. Your office should be neat, tidy, and orderly as well. Make sure your desk is clear of stray papers, your trash cans are emptied, etc. You’d be wise to have refreshments on hand to offer your clients, such as coffee, tea, waters, etc. Perhaps a small snack too – some cookies, chips, or something along those lines.
Liven Up The Ambience
There are some steps you can take to lift the overall mood of an office as well. Choose furniture that looks comfortable and luxurious. Leather is great if you can spring for it. Make sure that you have plenty of seating for the clients that will be visiting you and that the seating is comfortable. Make sure the office is sufficiently warm in the winter, and refreshingly cooled in the summer.
Bring your office to live by choosing a select few amenities to hang on walls and stand in corners. A nice painting can give your client something to look at when there’s a bit of down time in the meeting – say, for example, you need to go find a file in your computer, or perhaps you’re setting up their account in your database.
A nice floor lamp in the corner can add style and sleekness, especially if you go with a modern design. If you choose a lamp that is tall it can make the ceilings feel higher, making your office seem like a more open and inviting place to be. Make sure that the office is bright enough that your client won’t fall asleep, but also is not so bright that they feel like they’re in a hospital.
Consider also having an item that is unique that will instill a solid memory in the client’s experience. That could be an abacus, a cactus, or perhaps a small fountain. One web designer recently shared that they had installed a small electric fireplace for exactly this purpose, which could be an excellent choice. If you’re interested in an electric fireplace that you can hang on your wall you can read more about it here.
Know When It’s Time To Close
All of this attention to detail is worthless if you miss the mark when it comes time to close the deal. Once your client is comfortable with you and has faith in your ability to get the job done, make sure to seal the deal right then and there. If fail to do so, the chances of closing drop off significantly. As people have time to think things over, they often start to form doubts in their mind as to whether they really need a service. You don’t want to come off as aggressive, but at the same time if you think you can help a person it is your duty as a service provider to do so.