When you’re just starting out in business, one of your first challenges will be to convince prospective customers you know your stuff. But when you don’t have years of experience and happy customers to point to, how do you establish yourself as credible, and trustworthy? Here are just a few ways that you can show even your very first customer that you are a true professional:
First impressions count
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it count. Your clients will often base their decision to close a deal with you on how you come across at your very first meeting. Never underestimate the power of your body language and personal appearance, ensuring you’re professional, approachable right from the get-go.
Provide accurate job estimates
Your job estimate is often your first formal contact with your customer. Use it as an opportunity to tell the story of what kind of business you are. How detail-oriented are you? How well do you understand your customers’ specific job requirements? How transparent are you about costs? Provide a professional, organised estimate with online invoicing tools or cloud accounting solutions and show with great accuracy and detail what you plan to do for them.
Keep deadlines, and show up on time
In business, especially when you’re just forming a new relationship with a customer, the devil’s in the details. The first thing to get right every time is showing up when you say you will. Nothing chips away at your professionalism like showing up late. When it comes to setting timelines for job deadlines, build in a cushion so you can live up to those promises too. It’s these details that tell a bigger story about what type of business owner you are.
Make sure your communications are polished
Small business owners tend to put their focus on producing quality work, and rightly so. But you also want to make sure that every point of communication between your prospects and your brand will reflect a consistent image, from your website right down to your invoices. Ensure that these simple details have a polished touch. For example, check that your phone system is set up with a professional recording, your website is immaculate, and your email signature is uniform across all correspondence. If you have employees who work off-site, consider shirts or hats with logos. This helps identify who they work for and creates trust, especially for businesses whose service requires home visits.
By putting a professional foot forward, and giving great care to every detail, you don’t have to be established in order to instil a sense of trust with new customers.