Loyal customers are a crucial part of building and growing a successful business. The first impression a customer has of you and your small business can spark loyalty, or it can send them running to your competitor’s door. Because attracting new customers costs five- to 25 times that of retaining existing customers, it is essential that you make the first impression a positive one.
Small businesses tend to have limited resources to work with, making it difficult to spend a lot of money to impress new customers. We’ve put together a list of strategies small businesses can use to be sure to wow their customers and deliver a memorable and positive first experience.
1. Invest Time in Yourself
No matter what industry you serve, your appearance goes a long way. Make sure you and your employees dress appropriately, are well-groomed, and look confident. Potential customers will begin judging you before you make a single comment. If you look grungy or frazzled, they may close down before you can even spark a conversation and start building a rapport.
2. Have a Positive Attitude
A smile and good posture go a long way in first impressions. Both show you are open and ready to have a conversation and they make you more approachable. Entering a meeting with a frown or slouching might make the customer think you rather be elsewhere.
3. Be Prepared
If you run a storefront or restaurant, make sure you greet new customers the minute they walk-in with a welcome and smile. If you meet with clients one-on-one, take the time to research their company. When you show up prepared, customers will feel more valued. If you enter a meeting with no knowledge of the customer’s business, you will look like you don’t care.
4. Listen to the Customer
When a customer speaks, active listing is essential to understanding their needs. This is also the time you can learn more about their struggles. Keep eye contact and avoid multi-tasking, so you don’t miss any valuable information. When they have finished speaking, repeat the key points back to assure you do understand what they need to resolve.
5. Match Their Expectations
Some customers will want to get right down to business, while other customers will expect idle chitchat instead. Make sure you let the customer lead the conversation initially. If you are too quick to cut them off and dive in, it can make them feel like another number in your database.
6. Deliver Benefits, Not Features
Whether you sell a product or service, be sure to lead with the benefits. How will the product or service make them feel? What problem with it solve for the customer? How will their day be better? Once you painted a picture of the benefits, you can touch on the features that make them possible, but they shouldn’t be the focus of your conversation.
7. Ask For Commitment
When the initial visit or meeting comes to an end, ask for confirmation that they will return or commitment to make a purchase. If they can’t commit, you have the prime opportunity to learn what could have been different to assure their return. Listen to this feedback and offer a solution to show you value their opinion.