That first part of the word “impression” is what what you need to focus on when networking — “Impress.”
How do you impress someone on the first meeting, and instantly create the best picture of yourself in their mind?
And what do first impressions say about your business?
It’s not complicated. We’ve even broken it down into a little checklist that you can download for free.
In this blog post, we’ll go over the details of each point in the checklist, so you can make the best first impression for you and your business.
Do you really base your meeting with someone off of just a “firm handshake”?
You have to tell them who you are and what you do of course, but it should be underlined by what makes you indispensable in your field.
What sets you apart from other business owners? The other businesses in your city?
You want them to remember you.
Think about what makes your business a little different from the others, and emphasize this point in your first introduction about what you do.
Also, don’t play to your own ego. Let them know what you can offer them.
Trustworthiness and competence should be the underlining factor, according to the Forbes article: “How to Make a Flawless First Impression in Milliseconds”.
Give a Small Fact About Yourself
You’re not just a business owner, and no one is going to look at you as just a business owner.
Try working a small fact about yourself into the first conversation to connect on a more personal level.
Giving a small fact about yourself is one of the most important first steps in creating a good relationship with potential customers.
They likely have pets, kids, play some sort of sport, or have a favorite TV show. Get a conversation going by chatting a little about a hobby you have, or an opinion you have about something.
It doesn’t hurt to make it vaguely relevant to your business.
For example, if you’re a restaurant owner, you could mention that you love watching cooking shows in your spare time.
You can also make it a little more intimate, and less about your business.
Are you a father of 3 little girls? Do you help rescue animals in your spare time?
Don’t be afraid to be funny. A little humor and honesty can make people relax and feel more comfortable talking to you.
Ask a Small But Engaging Question
It’s #1 on Entrepreneur‘s article on the 13 Habits of Exceptionally Likable People!
This isn’t a one-sided conversation — you need to get to know them, too.
You also don’t want to put them on the spot. A small but engaging question should be:
- Really easy to answer.
- Relevant in a way to what you do.
Their answer should open a conversation to what your business can do for them. You’re not going for a sale right now — you’re simply listening and getting to know their needs.
This part of your first impression lets them know that you care.
Give a Compliment
Bestselling author, Rosalie Maggio of How to Say It and The Art of Talking to Anyone said it best:
“In every conversation, include at least one appreciative remark. Praise the other person’s business acumen, charity work, or even her taste in shoes. As long as the appreciation is brief, sincere, and specific, the feeling will be remembered long after the words are forgotten.”
Good people in high places know how to look for and point out the good points in everything and everyone.
Do you want to be seen as an authority in your field?
One of the best things you can do in your first impression, is make yourself look authoritative, not by acting superior, but by simply giving sincere compliments.
Give a Prompt Reason For Meeting
If you arranged a meeting, simply tell them briefly why you wanted to talk to them today.
They probably already know the obvious reasons for the meeting, so skip over that to why it was important that you give them this information.
Collect Contact Information
Before you go separate ways, you need to make sure you can stay in touch.
As long as the meeting went well, they probably want to be able to get a hold of you later, and you want this contact to turn into a lead.
Things you want to ask for:
- Full Name
- Email address
- Phone number
One other great thing to do is take a selfie together, so you can have a face to remember.
Add Them on Social Networks
Go to LinkedIn.com and use their email address to add them to your contacts.
After you look them up, click on the button to add them. Under “How do you know (their name)?”, you may need to enter their email address. You can use this to confirm that the email you took down for them is correct.
You can also add them as a connection by going to the “Add Connections” page, and inviting them to connect with you by typing in their email.
Try looking them up and following them on Twitter, or adding them on Facebook.
If you have a Facebook page for your business, invite them to it. Give them a quick hello in a direct message to remind them who you are.
Send Them an Email
The First Email should be one attention-grabbing email that tells your customers who you are, what you believe, and what they can expect from you.
The quickest and easiest way to keep customers happy is being completely transparent with them. No one likes to feel lost. When writing your first email, tell your customers when you’ll email them, what you’ll send them, and how you’ll interact with them.
We even created the Ultimate First Impression Email template that you can download (it’s free!) and fill out to save you time with this important first email. Click here to get that free email template.
Email templates are huge time savers!
More Ways to Follow Up
You can also send them a free gift.
Your “free gift” should be digital, so they can access it instantly (and you can deliver easily), but it must have REAL VALUE. They should be able to quickly and easily implement it, or gain important information from it quickly.
This can be the same as your lead magnet, if you have one. (What is a lead magnet? No one explains lead magnets quite like Digital Marketer: Go here.)
A good example of this would be the Ultimate First Impression Checklist.
(Did you download it yet? It’s very helpful.)
You can also offer more valuable information by inviting them to your blog, or you blog launch, if it’s still in the works.
Each person you meet should walk away with the impression that your business is a trusted authority.
Now that you have the free checklist and you know the whats, whys and hows of it, you can start making great first impressions that ultimately lead to connections and leads for your business.
P.S. As a little bonus, we have already scripted your 1st email for you. Download it now before you forget!