8 Strategies to make a good first impression on potential customers

You only get one chance to make a good first impression, as it’s often said. If a potential customer is not impressed or engaged they might not consider doing business with you. Ben Dyer, CEO at Powered Now, gives you some strategies to make a good first impression and get off on the right foot with a potential customer.

It is well-known that "people buy from people”. It is important to think about how your first impressions are made. Some tradespeople can get frustrated when they fail to win work, when in fact by all accounts they should have done. If you are just starting up or want to grow your trade business it matters a lot. If your first impression is good, it will lead to trust and trust will lead to sales. That’s why it’s so important. 

1. Make sure your email and mobile are freely available

If your prospects find it difficult to reach you when they haven’t even given you their business, they will then wonder how you will act once you start working on the project. This creates a bad first impression. Your email and mobile should be available at all times. It’s key to be easy to contact. You should also leave a helpful answer message on your phone, and return calls promptly. 

2. Always be on time

Try to show up when you say you will. This is an opportunity to show that you are trustworthy.

Powered Now's survey found that 83% of homeowners said that trade companies were their greatest irritations. Trust is key to selling to prospects. You can build trust by responding quickly to customers and arriving on time.

Technology can be a great help. James Chandler from Chandler Building said: “We turn up on a job to quote, do it all on the iPhone and send it to the customer. We’ve noticed that getting the paperwork out to the customer quickly normally means we win the job”.

3. Establish your professional credibility

When you're in front of the customer, they want to see if you can perform the job well. Talk about previous jobs you have done. Discuss the problems you've faced in the past and the standards that you work to.

If you are an installer, for example, you can talk about local authority notices and what must be reported to Gas Safe. Many homeowners don't have the time or desire to complete complicated paperwork. This helps to avoid the possibility that they might hire a cowboy or do it themselves.

Talk about your trade bodies membership, qualifications and insurance. Discuss the difficulty of Gas Safe exams and training. It is easy to assume your client already knows or has seen your website or the message on your van. This is a dangerous assumption. This is a better way to practice incorporating this into your conversations. Remember that no one likes a clever dick.

It can be helpful to casually explain your skills and qualifications in order to create the right image. You can also say, "This is a similar job that I did last month on Acacia Avenue. It turned out beautifully." You can also say, "I have more than 25 years' of experience." “My qualifications must be renewed every twelve months, of course.” You get the idea.

4. Be appropriate and polite

One tradesman was too friendly with my wife. It was not something I liked and nor did she. After that, we never used them again, despite being contacted many times. Enough said.

Others have offered to remove their boots, which instantly creates a positive impression. Some people aren't comfortable with visitors using their toilets, certainly if they don’t ask.

Being appropriate and polite builds trust and has a greater impact than you might initially imagine.

On the first encounter you do some work, make sure sure you clean up afterwards. If you are only visiting to get a quote, tell them that you will clean up after each job.

5. Do not take anything for granted

There's that old saying in business that the word “assume” makes an ass out of u and me. It is not a good idea to assume you will be offered the job. It is also wrong to assume that customers know everything necessary to make a decision.

It's your job, therefore, to understand what they understand and to help them to see the possibilities.

Confidence is a key attribute of your personality. Although it may seem unfair, people who speak about potential problems are less convincing than those who reassure customers. Prospects need lots of assurance before they buy. Give it to them.

6. Empathy is a virtue

It can be scary to think that you might be an unknown quantity to potential customers. They will allow this stranger into their homes. It's worth trying to understand their motivations. Image is important. It exudes a professional feeling.

Two ears are better than one mouth. The homeowner you are speaking to almost certainly knows less than you about your trade. Your customer will reveal a lot to you if you allow them. Listening carefully is crucial to understand what your customer has to say. So it’s important to listen to them and understand what they need.

It is a good idea to find a common ground, a connection. It might be football, a TV show, something you both like. Don't go too far.

7. Summarise your conversation

It's an effective way to give feedback in your own words. This will give them confidence and let them know you are listening. They will most likely agree with you.

8. Don’t forget to say thank you

Every opportunity to bid for work and find new customers is valuable. So thank them for taking the time to consider you. Even if the bid is rejected, you should still thank them. It's impossible to predict the future so keep the door open.

Of course, to do well you have to do a good job. To do that, you must win the business. A good first impression is a key to your success.

After you have completed everything, you will most likely be asked for a quote. It is crucial to quickly generate the quote (and Powered Now is here to help you with that!). It is a sure way to ruin all of your hard work. All the best!

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