Meeting with a new client can be stressful. A first impression can often set the tone for the entire relationship. How you present yourself can make or break the deal. Are you confident in your ability to make a great first impression?

Here are some great tips to make sure that you are.

1. Do Your Research

Before you meet with a client for the first time, you need to do your homework. Look up their profile on sites such as LInkedIn. Check out the website of the company they represent. Familiarize yourself with their industry and get a feel for who their competitors are and what they may be doing differently.

Doing your research will help you prepare for your meeting and give you a better understanding of what you can do for them. It also shows them that you care about the relationship and it puts you in a better position to prove your worth. Plus, it’s flattering to show up with a good understanding of your client.

2. Evaluate Your Appearance

The way you look will be the true first impression that you make and a professional appearance can go a long way towards showing that you’re an expert who takes the job seriously. If your regular look isn’t up to snuff then it’s time to go shopping, get a haircut, or maybe plan a makeover. Hone a style that conveys confidence, inspires trust, and presents you as the professional that you are.

Not only does your appearance affect others, it has an impact on you as well. You’re not going to feel comfortable and confident if you’re questioning the image that you’re presenting with your look.You’re not likely to be at your best if you end up being the only person in the room not wearing a suit. Prepare ahead of time so that your appearance builds your confidence instead of introducing doubt that could affect your performance.

3. Have An Agenda With Action Items

Showing up to a meeting without an agenda will undoubtedly result in wasted time, which is never impressive. Meetings have a tendency to get off track and while some drifting can be a good thing, someone eventually needs to steer the conversation back in the right direction. You should always have your schedule in front of you with clear key points that you can check off as you address them.

Your meeting should adjourn with clear and useful action items that both you and the client can tackle. While you should have an idea of what action items you will be offering prior to your meeting, be open to adding or altering them as the meeting progresses.

4. Listen And Adapt

Once you introduce yourself and provide an overview of what you can offer, it’s time to sit back and listen. You should be picking up on what matters the most to your client and let them tell you what they want. Ask questions and listen entirely before coming back with your thoughts and interjecting recommendations.

Adapt your agenda and action items to fit with what the client is looking for. Show how valuable an asset you can be by customizing what you offer to the client’s needs. Solutions tailored to a client’s needs are sure to be more impressive than prepackaged proposals that aren’t a good fit.

5. Ask For A Favor

Ben Franklin once turned a rival into a lifelong friend simply by asking to borrow a book from their library. This psychological phenomenon is known as the Ben Franklin effect. People who do a favor for someone have a tendency to like them simply because their brains are trying to justify why they did the favor to begin with.

Asking for a simple favor can be flattering as well because it makes the person feel that they have something the other person doesn’t. It’s a way to show admiration and respect. You might ask a client for their thoughts on a product or for advice about where they think the market is heading. The request can act as a subtle form of flattery.

Are you prepared to make a great first impression?

Sierra E is a Los-Angeles based trial lawyer and entrepreneur. She became partner at her law firm in 2015 and has made numerous appearances as a guest legal correspondent on CNN. In 2018, Sierra launched SuitKits, an online shopping service that allows women to custom design suits and separates to fit their exact measurements, style, color and cut. Through her career, her writings, and her company, Sierra hopes to help women from all backgrounds achieve both personal and professional success for the benefit of themselves and their families. You can find her on Twitter/Facebook/IG @SuitKits

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