There is no mistaking the importance of a great first impression; it can make enough of an impression to open a relationship—or to prevent one from ever being opened. Chances are, you will have many interactions with your dream clients over time, and it is unlikely that your first impression will be what is remembered.
Your Lasting Impression
What your dream client and clients may have the easiest time remembering is your last impression. Your most recent meeting, phone call, or email will be the thing your client will most easily recall.
It’s About Value Creation
Your clients will develop an impression of you over time. If what the recall about your last communication or meeting was that it was professional, demonstrated your business acumen, was evidence that you care deeply about helping them produce a better result, and that is was value-creating, that is most likely what they will retain and share with others.
It’s unfortunate the opposite is also true. If your last encounter or communication lacked professionalism, gave the impression that you didn’t care about whether or not your client achieved the outcome they needed, and was a waste of their time, they will also retain and share that with others.
Lest you doubt me, take a minute and recall the last time you received poor service or were sorely disappointed by someone you do business with. Despite getting the result that you wanted or needed time after time, if your last impression was negative, that’s what you will retain and that is what you will tell others (most likely anyone who will listen).
With Each and Every Interaction
It’s not easy, but you have to make sure that each and every interaction you have with your client (or dream client) leaves a positive last impression. This is true whether your interaction is a sales call, a follow-up business meeting, a cup of coffee, or a telephone call.
Even if it is sharing a meal or a cup of coffee, you have to go into the meeting with an outcome that ensures that you leave a great last impression; if it’s a cup of coffee, and it’s just checking on your results or your relationship, make sure that you leave knowing that your client knows that you care deeply and that, if asked, the impression will be positive.
Even if you’re handling a tough problem, even if there is a disagreement that needs to be resolved, you can make a positive last impression. As a general rule, you can even end relationships, part as friends, and do so in a way that leaves a positive last impression.
- You want to make a great first impression. What happens between that first meeting and the last meeting that causes you to lower your standard and to accept outcomes that, while not being negative, don’t leave as a good of an impression as your first meeting?
- Think about your last sales meeting. What would your client or dream client say about you based on that last meeting? Would they speak positively about you? Really positive, or just a lukewarm positive? What would you have had to do to leave a last impression that would earn you an enthusiastic and rave review?
- How do you make sure that even potentially negative encounters leave a positive last impression about you? How would going into potentially negative meetings or encounters with this as your outcome change your last impression?
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