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You only get one chance to make a good first impression with potential clients, you have to maximize that chance.

Potential buyers look at many things before they decide whom to buy from.

And sometimes, cheap pricing and affordability is not usually the reason.

While a lot of people will consider cheap products and affordable service offerings when choosing who to work with, those who are looking for real value and quality results will be looking for people who look like they can help them achieve what they want to achieve.

Now, I don’t want you to get me wrong.

Just because your services are modestly priced and affordable doesn’t make you fake.

What I am saying is, people won’t really matter if you are expensive if they know you can help them achieve results.

In life, first impressions last longer and that’s why they matter.

If you impress your potential clients the first time, either with your visuals or with your service, you’ll leave a lasting mark on their minds.

As a service-based online business, that’s what you want to do- impress people the first time.

Before we go further into this article, I’d like you to know that I have a YouTube video on this same topic and you can watch it below.

How do you make a good first impression on potential clients? Let’s find out.

1. Have Cohesive Brand Elements

If you want to make a good first impression with potential clients, the first thing you must do is create cohesive brand elements.

So picture this, you’re an up-and-coming business and you have been able to successfully create a unique image for your brand and then you begin to attract your dream clients.

Does that sound like a dream?

If all of those things are in place, it demonstrates a consistency and professionalism that attracts your dream clients and gets them excited to work with you.

That’s why you need to focus on having consistent designs across your social media, your website and your other online assets.

Design is not the only thing you want to be consistent with though, you should also decide on the kinds of pictures you want to use, that is your photography style.

Let your pictures and your design themes be similar and consistent.

For instance, if you use a lot of colourism in your pictures, you want to make sure that your creatives and your brand elements are also attractively designed with bright colours.

Also, use the same voice across your online platforms and share the same information.

For instance, if on Instagram you share content about social media marketing for small businesses, but on LinkedIn, you are speaking of career management, you’ll be confusing your audience.

So you want to be consistent about the things you share online and also be consistent with your theme.


2. Use Design at Every Chance You Get

Personally, I hate to see blocks of texts in places where I know illustrations can be made with design.

For instance, when I’m listening to a presentation, I expect to see illustrations, that makes the presentation very visual and easily digestible.

Whenever you get the opportunity to write a proposal, facilitate a training, make a presentation, etc. never pass on the opportunity to communicate with design.

Man giving a big data presentation on a tv in a board room. There are several financial graphs and charts on the screen with a diverse group of people in the meeting room. There is paperwork and technology on the table

The only time people will read blocks of text is when they are reading an article, or a blog post like this one.

But if you create a presentation with over 500 words and all you have are blocks of text, you’ll lose people’s attention.

Recently, I facilitated a social media training for a real estate company.

It was pretty impromptu, but I had to deliver, so I got home from a strategy meeting for another company at 10 pm and I started to work on my slides for the training.

I did this till about 2am. I wanted to create the best work.

I never fail to use design to communicate at any given opportunity.

Actually, doing that makes your work look excellent and well planned.

One good thing about using design at every opportunity is that it helps the reader consume the information you are passing across quickly.

When you create a proposal that is well thought out with good design, it creates a good impression in the minds of that potential client that you are all about excellence and since every other person will be basic, you want to stand out.

So if you want to make a good first impression with potential clients, you want to consider this.

3. Have a Client Onboarding Process

A client onboarding process is simply all the activities you will carry out once you sign on a client.

This is a great opportunity to make a good first impression with potential clients.

I spoke extensively about having a client onboarding process in this video.

Anytime you sign on a new client, you have to develop a smooth relationship with them in order to get them committed to you for life and a good onboarding process will help you build such relationships.

It is important that you have a client onboarding process so that you can set expectations, define boundaries, and keep your clients up to date.

A seamless client onboarding process increases your value in the mind of your clients because you appear professional and you look like you know what you are doing.

You typically want to set up the onboarding workflow once the client has made a payment, not anytime before that because payment makes it clear that they are ready to work with you.

One thing you should never do is to complicate the workflow.

You don’t want to add to many steps or information in the workflow so that you don’t confuse them, at the same time, you don’t want to add too little information.

Okay so let’s talk about the workflow.

Set up Contracts and Receive Payments

Shot of two business persons filling in paperwork in an office. Businessman and businesswoman signing a document in board room.

Before you get started on anything, you need to sign a contract with the new client.

What I usually do is to write out the contract by myself and include a place for my signature and the clients’ signature.

I then sign it and sent it to them to sign.

Having a contract helps to set expectations and inform the client of the scope of work I’ll be doing for them.

What I put in my contract of agreement includes:

  • The parties in agreement
  • The work to be carried out
  • My deliverables
  • Contract Timeline and Termination Provision
  • A defined payment schedule

I also include my business account number in the contract and I inform them that work starts after payment is made.

And just as promised, once payment is made, I get to work.

Send a Welcome Packet

Here, you are going to send them a welcome email.

In the email, you are going to familiarize them with your company by talking briefly about it.

Then, you’ll inform them of your excitement to work with them and promise to deliver value.

You also want to include client homework in the email.

This is a questionnaire they will have to fill to give answers to any questions you might need during the work process.

In the homework, list the items you’ll need from the client in order to complete it.

So if I was going to be working on developing a website for a client, I would ask them for an inspiration board, logo concepts, brand style guide, social media handles, and so on.

And then let them know how they’ll send it.

I usually do this additional thing, I’ll send them my phone number, my official email, my work hours when they can reach me and how and when they can’t reach me and then a link to my blog because I cover a lot of topics there and they can get informed.

And finally, a specific date for our first kick-off call.

The Kickoff Call

Honestly most times, it could be a phone call, but I’ve since discovered that it’s good to use a video call so that we can build familiarity.

So a Google meet or a quick WhatsApp video call will do justice.

It’s a good get to know me hour and the client can ask any further questions they have after they’ve asked some in our discovery call.

We’ll also discuss deliverables and deadlines and any other addon services they’d need.

This call helps us to get on the same page so that there won’t be any unnecessary expectations.

We also get to talk about what they filled in the questionnaire, some clients don’t fill everything, they’ll leave it blank.

This is where you want to get clear on every detail. I also tend to ask them about who their ideal customer is.

It doesn’t stop there, you still need to do internal set up and launch. Your internal set up is very important because it will determine how smooth your work will be.

Maybe you need to set up a Google Drive link to get their images, create a template for them on Canva, or use a project management software.

Make sure that your client onboarding is seamless if you want to make a good first impression with potential clients.

4. Respond Quickly to Inquiries

In this video, I spoke about the pros and cons of social media on small businesses.

One of the cons I mentioned was the growing impatience of people on social media these days.

When potential customers reach out to you, they expect you to respond within nanoseconds. And sometimes, that may not be possible.

When they don’t get a response immediately, they just move over to the next business owner on social media.

This often puts a lot of pressure on business owners because they don’t want to lose a prospect.

The best way to overcome this overwhelm is to put a system in place to help with this.

If you have the budget, you can enlist the services of a social media manager. But if not, social media has inbuilt tools to help set up your automation.

For instance, you can set up autoresponders on Instagram to answer people immediately they slide into your DM.

You can also do the same thing with your email, set up autoresponders to keep your customers with you.

This helps you to make a good first impression with your target audience.

5. Be Consistent with your What I Do Statement

Your “What I Do” statement simply tells everyone, briefly, what you help people achieve.

For instance, mine is that I help career professionals who cannot wait to bolt from their 9-5s build online businesses.

Yours could be that you help corporate organizations build cohesive and streamlined brands through well thought-out visual elements.

Whatever it is that you do, you want to be very clear and consistent with it.

If you are a VA who helps busy business owners handle administrative work so they can focus on the core of their businesses, that’s what you want to be clear about.

On your social platforms, we should be able to understand what it is you really do.

It should not be one thing on Instagram and anther thing on LinkedIn.

Your “What I Do” statement should be consistent across all platforms, that’s how you make a good first impression on potential clients.

Final Words

It’s important to make a good first impression with potential clients and it is equally important to maintain that impression.

Just because a client has trusted you with their money and their business doesn’t mean you should start reducing the level of quality.

Just as they have trusted you with their business, they can easily withdraw it from you.

So don’t coast, continue to do great work and before you know it, you’ll be turning back clients in no time.

I hope that you’ll put these tips into practice.

Which of these points will you start with? Let me know in the comment section.

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