Entrepreneurs need to make good impressions — whether online, in person or on the phone. Make a great first impression so when you wrap up a conversation the person with whom you were interacting feels good about him- or herself and feels as though you truly listened to what they had to say.
Conversational skills are crucial to growing a network and a business. It could make the difference between closing a deal or having that person walk away with a bad taste in his or her mouth and deciding not to work with you.
Make A Great First Impression
Physical impression. Know how they say you only get one time to make a first impression? It’s true. Even if you’re a solopreneur who works at home in pajamas most of the time, if you’re going to a networking meeting or hosting a video chat or even getting on a phone call — get dressed. You don’t have to don a suit and tie, but you should project a professional appearance. It’s been shown that even if you dress up for a phone call you will project yourself in a more professional manner. If you’re at a networking event or a conference, don a conversation starter piece — for a woman that could be a scarf or pin or even the purse she’s carrying. For a man it could be a unique tie or briefcase. This is a great way to connect and when you follow up after the meeting you can say, “I was the man/woman wearing the XYZ” it will help raise recognition.
Get others to talk about you. If you want to really make an impression, get others to talk about you. They can introduce you and say, “Wow, did you know that Joe is an expert at…” It’s much better to hear from someone else that you have a talent than it is for you to toot your own horn.
Start a conversation about the other person! Ask, “What are you doing?” “Do you have any exciting projects in the works?” When you show an interest in them, you are opening the door for that person to take an interest in you. Avoid politics or religion unless you know the crowd with whom you’re interacting.
Tell a story. This doesn’t mean you have to give a recitation of your accomplishments, it truly means “tell a story.” Practice your elevator speech in a way that is more of a storytelling conversation than your reading your CV. If someone asks, “Oh, how did you get into that line of work?” Have your story ready. Highlight your qualities through the insights you share and the stories you tell.
Remember, not every conversation has to be a sales call. Be natural. Let the conversation flow. If you’re asked, “So, what do you do?” Share!
What are your best “first impression” tips?
As a business coach it’s my job to look at your entire business when we are talking. One thing I look at is your business bio and I ask, “is your business bio doing its job?” You may not know if it is — or if it isn’t. Your business bio is your online, 24/7 calling card to the universe.
Your business bio needs to be robust, tell people what you do and how they can work with you. The messaging on your business bio needs to be consistent and consistently branded no matter where you’re sharing it. Keywords are also part of the bio as that is how people will search you out.
To grow your business, garner speaking engagements and drive people to your website a business bio can be your best friend — or your worst enemy. Take time to craft a robust bio (one that is searchable for your niche).
Is Your Business Bio Doing Its Job?
Go to all of your social media platforms, your website, your blog and look at your business card and determine whether your bio needs to be updated and/or adjusted.
- It’s not one-size-fits-all. Your bio or your profile needs to be adapted and adjusted to the audience with which you’re interacting.
- Qualifications. If you’re twenty years out of high school or college, do you need to highlight your college or high school achievements? Haven’t you done anything since then that’s notable? For what do you want to be known? What have you done to highlight that unique skillset? Highlight that in your qualifications and remove, “captain of the wrestling team” from your qualifications and bio — unless it remains somehow relevant.
- Specialized training. If you’re a lifelong learner — and most successful entrepreneurs are — make note of that. What do you do that makes you stand out from the competition? Add it into your bio.
- Contact info. Crafting a great bio is the first step. Once people have found you, have you given them a way to get in touch with you? I have seen numerous websites where there is no contact email or phone number. Make sure you have an easy way for a prospect to reach you.
- Professional photo. A photo is a must. I will not accept a connection request on LinkedIn if someone doesn’t have a photo. Why would I? For that matter, why wouldn’t you have a professional photo? Hire a photographer and get photos taken. Unless you are in the pet industry, don’t have your dog or cat in the photo with you.
Is your business bio complete? Is it robust? Are you using keywords? If you have questions or doubts about your bio, reach out, I can help.
How to make sound business decisions is a question many coaches get asked by their coaching clients regularly. Making sound business decisions sometimes stops entrepreneurs in their tracks. They worry they will do something wrong. They fear they will make a “bad” decision and the entire business will implode.
I feel that not making a decision is the worst decision an entrepreneur can make.
How To Make Sound Business Decisions
The difference between a successful entrepreneur and one who doesn’t succeed could be as simple as making decisions and following through. To do this, you will want to have a mission and a vision and even checklists to keep you moving forward.
To learn how to, and why you’re not making decisions, you need to identify those areas in which you struggle to confidently choose A or B.
Here are ways in which to make decisions with confidence.
- Ask for help. If you’re not making a decision because you don’t have all the facts or are simply perplexed, ask a colleague or work with a coach.
- Gather the data necessary to make an informed decision.
- What value is the decision bringing to your business? What could be lost if you don’t make a decision?
- Will the situation you’re in be made better or worse by your lack of decision making? What’s the worst that could happen? What’s the best that could happen?
- Do you pay attention to your gut instincts? They can sometimes be your best guide.
Do you sometimes get frozen in place? Is procrastinating making a decision holding you back from higher business success? When you have those times when you simply can’t or don’t make a decision, do you know why? Take time to determine why you’re not making a decision and you may be on the right path toward becoming a decision-making pro!
When you meet someone do you form a first impression? Of course you do. We all do. When someone meets you, what do you think they see? What is your personal brand? Do they find you shy and introverted? Outgoing and boisterous?
When you attend a networking event or even meet someone in line at the grocery store, what impression do they form of you and how could that impact — negatively or positively — on your business brand?
What is your personal brand?
Your personal brand is tied closely with your business brand. Imagine this scenario. You’re a CPA who works in a high end accounting firm BUT you attend networking events in tie-dyed t-shirts and sneakers. What first impression will a person make of you? What first impression do you want to make? Appearances do matter and in some businesses you’re able to wear tie-dyed t-shirts and sneakers and the potential clients with whom you’re interacting won’t bat an eye. In other instances, though you do need to “look the part.”
When you’re at a networking event, what is the personal and business brand you’re putting forth? Have you ever stopped to think how closely tied they truly are?
What can you do to position yourself and your business and your entire “brand package”? Here are our tips and advice:
- What makes you “you” unique. What is your USP (unique selling proposition)?
- Have your colleagues said to you, “We come to you because of the XYZ you offer. We can’t find that anywhere else.” That’s branding.
- How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors? Your origin story? Not just super heroes get to have origin stories. The way in which and the reason for which you started your business is your origin story and should be shared because it sets you apart. Do you set yourself apart with price, service, speed with which you deliver? Hone in on your differentiator and promote it.
First impressions do count, but ongoing interactions matter just as much in the business world. Don’t you agree? What can you do today, or the next time you meet with a potential client or a current client to keep your USP front and center while still having relevant and meaningful discussions?
Amazon is being blamed for the demise of many brick and mortar stores, but still there are many brick and mortars that are opening their doors and others that are thriving. How to set yourself apart from Amazon is something that business owners need to consider when opening a store front — whether physical or virtual.
You may not be able to compete head-to-head with Amazon, but you can certainly still thrive in this marketplace.
How To Set Yourself Apart From Amazon
- Offer a wide variety of items. No longer can a business rely on selling one item and one item only. Amazon thrives because of its diverse mix of items. What can you do to expand your offerings?
- Embrace a niche. You can’t be everything to everyone — like Amazon is — unless you have the budget to do so. Do you? It not, you need to embrace a niche and market the heck out of that unique niche in the marketplace.
- If you’re a brick and mortar, become a destination. Give people a reason to come other than to buy a product. Host events. Make shopping an adventure. If you’re in a tourist town, truly make your store a destination. Offer lessons, host parties, bring in speakers.
- Reduce your expenses by leveraging technology. Look at how you connect with customers and find ways to leverage technology to make it more cost effective and keep yourself in front of your ideal client.
- Be on social media.
- Have a social mission. What does that mean? Partner with a charity or group whose mission you and your business embrace and make sure your customers know that when they shop with you they are also supporting XYZ.
- Tell your story. People don’t have a connection with Amazon — they shop there because it’s easy. Build a connection with your customers by sharing your unique story. What sets you apart from Amazon? It’s your personality! Share that!
What are you doing to set your business apart?