First impressions happen fast. Customers will decide if you are trustworthy and responsible in a tenth of a second, according to Princeton researchers. And that impression usually sticks. Repeat customers are the easiest way to keep a business running, but they can be hard to get if you drop the ball at first.

Business owner with new customer

Here are the best ways to make a killer first impression that will keep customers coming back:

Find common ground

It’s the personal touch and connection your customers will remember. Before diving into business, always start a conversation and establish common ground – perhaps you have a similar interest or you both have kids. Once you have created a connection, ensure you have taken the time to learn the problem. This means asking about the customer’s needs, figuring out their circumstances and responding with understanding and enthusiasm.

Look and act the part

The initial conversation also means looking and acting the part. Never underestimate the power of your body language and personal appearance. Looking your client in the eye and shaking their hand goes a long way in showing you’re professional, but also approachable right from the get go. It goes the same with your personal appearance – every part of your presentation should reflect your business. 

Use the latest tools

One sure way to make your new customer see you as unprofessional is whipping out pen and paper to write up their estimate and invoice. Ditch this old school method for a digital solution where you can email an estimate within minutes, right in front of the customer. We may be biased, but Invoice2go makes it really simple for business owners and freelancers to send professional estimates and invoices right from your back pocket. Every piece of communication should reflect the credibility of your business, from estimates to invoices. Plus, Customers are less likely to pay on time if you appear disorganized.

Connect early on social media

One of the biggest boons to small businesses in the last decade has been social media. It’s cheap, easy to run, and a trusted source for business recommendations. If used correctly, your Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter profile can help build a loyal customer base that will help grow your business.

Include your Facebook name or Twitter handle on your invoices or emails so it’s easy for your new customers to keep in touch with what you’re doing – invite them to share feedback on your page or to find deals or promotions. Social media is an essential to not only starting off strong with new customers, but to foster customer relationships that keeps them coming back for more. To learn more, read Keep Cash Flow Flowing: 5 Ways to Secure Repeat Customers.

Kicking things off with a great first impression with new customers can go a long way. With a strong start, you will have the customer’s trust and be able to build genuine, long term loyalty.

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