Making a great first impression with clients and prospects

05 September 2017

Making a great first impression with clients and prospects

'You only get one chance to make a first impression' as the saying goes. For glaziers going out on-site for sales meetings or meeting the client for the first time, leaving a positive impression is key. If you haven't got the job yet, it'll go a long way in closing the deal. If you have, it'll set the working relationship off on a positive note.


Transparency is key

You know how long a job is going to take and what is involved in getting it done. Chances are, your client doesn't. Educate them on the process (using everyday terminology that they'll understand) and be clear about how long everything takes and where potential delays may occur.

Think about it this way: if a contractor came to your house and told you they could build you a new deck by the end of tomorrow, and another contractor looked at the scope and worked out a completion date based on when each step would get done, who would you feel more comfortable spending your money with?

The benefits of transparency around job management and timelines are twofold. If you've clearly explained to the customer that the project will take two weeks and they are still pushing to have it done in two days, that may be a sign of difficulties to come and you may not want them as a customer.


Be attentive, take notes

Resist the urge to talk over the client because you can already see what needs to be done or you're running late. Even if you do know your stuff, they'll find it off-putting. Listen to what the client's needs are, answer their questions, and take notes and photos where appropriate so the client feels like they're in good hands. Repeating back information is a great way to show you've been listening to them and to verify you've captured all the details correctly.

If it's going to be a long job, pay attention to the client's communication style so you can keep them updated throughout the project. Do they like lots of detail or are they more interested in just the highlights?


Add value & move the decision-making process along

If your customer is still in the decision-making phase, there are a few simple things you can do to add value and get ahead of the competition.

Having additional resources on your website is great for client meetings, as well as being a powerful tool to bring new visitors to your website. For example, if you specialize in frameless shower installation, consider providing resources on your site like design ideas, hardware options, things to consider when remodeling a shower etc. When you meet the client, you can then recommend they view these resources on your site or pull them up on your phone or laptop there and then. If budget allows, you may want to consider having a printed marketing pack to leave with clients, directing them to go to your website for further information.

Depending on the size of the job, be prepared for the client to ask you for references before work can commence. It's good to have these details on you should this come up, it shows you are confident enough in your referrals to hand them out on the spot and that you've come to the meeting prepared.

In conclusion

Sales meetings can feel tedious when you feel that you already understand what needs to be done, but it's important to take them seriously to put the client's mind at ease and start the project off on the right foot. What constitutes a 'small job' for you could be a major expense for the customer so it's important to instill trust and credibility right from the outset.

P.S. Keeping a clean pair of shoes and a tidy polo shirt with your company logo on it in your car for such meetings isn't a bad idea! The Contractors Association has some great advice on clothing, body language, what to say and more on their website.

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