Whether clients are garnered using a flashy marketing campaign, cold calls or networking opportunities, the process involves a lot of hard work. From the first point of contact to the end of the transaction, customers should feel valued and appreciated. Failing to make a good impression on a client can ruin all that effort and hurt sales.

1. Create a Welcoming Atmosphere

Not all office spaces need to look like they could be featured in a magazine, but a dirty, cluttered waiting room or meeting space looks unprofessional. Any rooms clients will see should contain clean, comfortable commercial office furniture and a few amenities. Offer coffee, water or candy to clients to make them feel more at ease during the transaction.

2. Be Respectful

A clumsy or boorish sales approach will quickly chase away clients and give the company a bad reputation. The tone of voice and body language should be friendly and open. Start meetings promptly and limit distractions by turning off cell phones so that the focus is strictly on the client. Respect the client’s time by returning phone calls and emails in a timely manner. Research the client’s company and dress appropriately when making a sales call.

3. Ask Questions

Forging good relationships with clients involves taking a personal and professional interest in them. Ask questions to determine exactly what their needs are and how they can be met. Make small talk occasionally to find out about some of their interests or hobbies. Be careful not to pry and keep conversations light and enjoyable. Make notes after each conversation to follow up with them about specific items next time.

Making a good impression on clients does not have to be difficult. Represent the business professionally and make them feel valued as individuals to build relationships that will last for years.