1. Make a Great First Impression
First impressions really do matter, and you don’t have a second chance. A customer, client, or associate will form his or her opinion of you and your business from your first meeting, so having a positive impact can be critical. Body language is crucial in how people perceive you. Maintain appropriate eye contact; you will seem focused and credible. Don’t slouch; good posture portrays confidence. Avoid postures such as crossing your arms, putting your hands on your hips, and putting your hands behind your head; these types of gestures convey disapproval and arrogance. Smile and relax; people respond the best to confident friendliness. Dress appropriately and in a manner that is consistent with the identity of your business. Most importantly, be yourself! Authenticity is vital; if you are trying too hard to be someone or something you are not, then you simply seem fake, which negatively affects your credibility.
2. Don’t Get Too Personal
While small talk is certainly valuable for forming relationships with your customers and associates, you should definitely avoid getting too personal. Your customer doesn’t need to know that your wife made you sleep on the couch last night or that your son just learned to pee standing up. In fact, unless the customer asks, try not to bring your personal life into the conversation at all. It is also wise to avoid potentially inflammatory subjects such as politics and religion as well. You want to be professionally familiar with your customers, and this has boundaries. Certainly, every person’s comfort level is different, so every business will be different in terms of personal familiarity with customers, but you should identify the appropriate boundaries for your particular business.
3. Maintain Credibility
In order to maintain your credibility, your words need to match your actions. This is true on both a small and a large scale. In meetings, or any conversation for that matter, your body language should be consistent with what you are saying. If the two are incongruent, then people are more likely to trust your body language. Within a wider scope, your actions need to be consistent with the message of your brand. Simply stated, do what you say you will do.
4. Always End Meetings Positively
ySome meetings will go wonderfully. Some, however, might not go as well. Whether your meeting goes well or not, it is important to conclude the meeting cordially. Your customer is likely to remember the beginning and the end of the meeting well, so you want to give a good final impression too.
5. Keep in Touch
Building a lasting business relationship takes time. Consistent interaction with your customers through email and social media can help you forge those lasting relationships. To clarify issues and provide exceptional customer service, a telephone call is still a good idea.