A Second Chance at Making a Lasting Impression

Posted by John Park on Dec 12th, 2008
Dec 12

growing with existing clients

I had on my best (only) suit sitting amongst others also in their best professional attire.  The minutes seemed to drag on forever as I constantly stared at my watch.  The magazines were outdated and uninteresting but we all rummaged through them to kill the wait.  And directly in front of me, in a $5 frame, was a printed sign that said “You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression.”
It was 1993 and I was waiting for my interview in a headhunter’s office vying for a corporate sale position.
For some reason, that cliche phrase has never left me.  I know you’ve all heard it a million times and chances are you’ve probably used it to make a point in business.  It’s 15 years later now and I have to tell you I’ve been thinking a lot about this phrase recently.  It’s not what you think.  After analyzing this statement, I’ve come to the conclusion that this readily embraced business principle is not necessarily applicable for ALL business situations.  In fact, if you apply this resilient statement to every aspect of your business, it might even actually hurt your business prospects.
How many times have you heard… “Oh, I didn’t know you do that too.”
When we hear this phrase from existing clients, we cringe in horror.  This is especially true if they say this to you “after the fact” or after having purchased from a competitor.  If you really think about it, it is extremely naive of us to think that our clients should know everything about our companies and what we have to offer.  In most cases, your business-client relationship originally started with a single product or service.  You might even refer to this initial event as the “First Impression.”
The problem is that most business owners automatically just assume their customers know all about the other products or services they offer just because they’re doing business with them.  This is what I jokingly call, add-on business through telepathy.  Your business, the products and services you offer are in a constant state of change.  It is unreasonable for you to expect your clients to keep up with your business “just because”.  If you are a B2B business, your clients have their own businesses to worry about.  They certainly don’t have the time to research what new offerings you might have for them.
No matter how concrete the relationship or how long it has been in place, you absolutely cannot rely on “First Impressions” to generate the constant referral and add-on business you should be harvesting from your existing client base.  You must reintroduce the business again and again for the duration of the business-client relationship.  Every time you roll out a new service or product, you must let your existing clients know about it.  Again, mental telepathy is not a known business strategy.
So, stop relying on your so-called “First Impression”.  Go out there and reintroduce yourself to your clients.  Unlike a corporate job interview, you have many more chances to make another impression.

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