Working as a contractor comes with many benefits, such as having the freedom to manage your time while determining your own income. However, with those benefits comes the responsibility to find and retain clients and having the ability to make a good first impression can play a huge role in ensuring that.
Here are a few tips on how you can make a good impression on potential clients as a new contractor:
Ensure You Are Well Presented
“You’ll never get a second chance to make a great first impression.”
So, make sure you get off to the right start by ensuring you are well presented for their place of business. Even if it’s a dressed down office or building site make sure you dress to impress (within reason) so that they know their project is in the right hands.
It is said that a person has judged you within the first 7 seconds of meeting you and the first thing they think when they set eyes upon you shouldn’t be “have they just rolled out of bed?”!
Use Positive Body Language
Shake hands. Smile. Maintain eye contact. Speak clearly and more importantly BE CONFIDENT.
I’m sure we have all seen various tips on the web about good body language. It’s apparent that not all are going to work, and some may even feel unnatural, but sitting/standing up straight is a great place to start.
Good posture portrays a confident person.
Familiarise Yourself with Your Customer’s Name
If you’re unsure about your customer’s first name or are uncomfortable using it, then refer to them using their preferred title, like Ms., Mrs., Mr. Dr. etc.
Avoid Touchy Subjects
When engaging with customers, it’s important to steer clear of contentious and touchy subjects like religion or politics, as it might lead to differing views or the risk of saying something offensive to your client about a political or religious figure that they revere. While such discussions are inevitable when you develop long-term relationships with clients and they start to open up their personal side more, it’s always a good idea to maintain a professional attitude in the beginning while you’re still a new contractor who’s getting their footing.
Have a Good Telephone Etiquette
If you deal with your customer over the phone, it is important to ensure that you leave them with a positive impression of you and your business. This will give them confidence in your abilities, especially when working from home.
Use a positive tone when speaking to clients over the phone, and be sympathetic to their needs, most people can tell when you’re being insincere or apathetic over the phone, even if they don’t see you physically.
A new contractor needs to master the basics of answering the phone, including the tone they use, taking messages and responding to client’s queries without feeling irritated or impatient, or worse, causing the customer to feel that way. If you can’t answer a client’s question, take notes and promise to get back to them, and make good on your promise by following up on that query as soon as possible.
Remember these simple tips in the early days and you will be sure to succeed. Good Luck!