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98. First Impression Business Busters

You only get one chance to make a first impression.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying before, but when it comes to business first impressions, you may be making one without even realizing it.  Your customers are stalking you (not inappropriately – get your mind out of the gutter) long before they ever reach out to you. But if your online presence is lacking, you could be sunk in the water before you ever get the chance to show them your sails.

It’s time to polish up your business online before it busts your opportunities.

I have had many inquiries from potential clients as well as the opportunity to do my own bit of stalking as I look for staff.  Let me tell you, I know it’s a bit judgy, but I don’t take the people who break these 9 unwritten rules very seriously as business owners. Episode 98 lays out the 9 original sins of branding and marketing a new business.  For all the insider tips and a break down of what not to do, listen to the entire episode here.

1. What is your first impression?  

Social media profiles are a wealth of information. As a business owner, how are you showing up? Do you have professional headshots or did you take one in your bathroom mirror? Or worse, do you have a blank avatar? What are you posting on social? Is it intentional? Did you create a strategy around it? Does it jive with your vibe or are you keeping the real you in hiding? When you are posting content is it helpful to your audience or are you just picking a pretty quote and praying that someone clicks on it?  Without a plan and some professionalism, it’s going to be hard for people to take you seriously.  A few little polishes and you will be looking like you are in the game. Get a professional headshot (tips in the episode), think about that post twice before you post it and, for the love all things holy come up with a strategy before you invest time and energy in your social media.

2. Have a professional email address.

When you use your Hotmail account (please tell me you don’t have Hotmail!) as your business email address, how seriously can people really take you? Put yourself in their shoes.  You need to hire a tree trimmer.  There are 100 tree trimmers in your area.  When you narrow down candidates are you going to go with joe@WeTrimTrees.com or are you going to go with joetrippingtrees@aol.com. More than likely you are going to go with the professional.  Because something as simple as having a professional email address sets you apart as “knowing what the heck you’re doing” vs. I just woke up today and decided I’d try tree trimming.  People want the best that they believe they can afford.  So if it comes down to you and Joe at WeTrimTrees, Joe is winning the deal.  Get the email address.  It’s $6 a month using GSuite and you get some other nifty bonuses.

3. Update/Create Your Google Listing.

Almost 92% of people use Google search to find whatever it is they are looking for.  That means YOU.  They are looking for you.  If you aren’t on there as a business, they CAN’T find you.  It’s free, it’s awesome and you need to do it.  Here’s the link to get started. The same is true if you set up your google account and then forgot about it. It needs to be up to date and kept that way.  It’s the first thing that people see and you need to keep it polished up and ready to shine. Use this link to check yours out and be sure it’s up to date.

4. Your social profile is outdated.

Did you know that your LinkedIn profile is one of the highest-ranked search items on Google?  Don’t believe me? Go type in your name or the name of your competitor and see if their LinkedIn profile shows up on the first page of results.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.  It was there, wasn’t it? So why in the world would you not be sure that thing is UP TO DATE?  The same goes for all of your social profiles.  Your future customers are soaking in everything you put out there. If they are old, outdated, or have messaging or posts that don’t align with your business, you have some clean up to do.  I gave more tips in the episode, check them out here.

5. Your connections are not intentional.

Just like promoting on social media, creating content, or building a strategy – you have to be intentional with who you are connecting with in real life and online.  You wouldn’t go to a dental conference if you sell dog collars.  That would make zero sense.  Yes, they may own dogs, but they aren’t there to buy a dog collar.  They are there to connect with other dentists and dental vendors.  The same goes for social media.  You don’t need 700K subscribers if they have no interest in purchasing from you or don’t need your product.  Be intentional with whom you connect and create a plan around why you are connecting with them.

6. Your website is outdated, broken, or doesn’t exist.

You may have been told that you don’t need a website to succeed.  Perhaps you don’t, but I will argue you do need at least a home page to be taken seriously.  If you are going to have a website out there for people to find make sure it is isn’t broken and that your visitors don’t have issues accessing pages worry about their security or that you indeed have a website for them to visit and it’s not missing. Nothing screams “I don’t know what I’m doing” louder than “here’s my website” and they go and nothing is there or they get a 404 error.  There are only 3 pages you need on a website, I’m going to cover those in a future episode.

7. You make it hard to do business with you.

This can be connected to #6 above, if they go to your website and they have to search and search for what you do, how to contact you or how to place an order, they just won’t.  I give several examples in Episode 98 that I experienced during COVID (and am still experiencing). Don’t be that guy (or gal) that people really want to buy from, but you’re making it too hard to do.  If they call on the phone and it’s busy more than twice, they are going somewhere else.  If they try to place an order and it won’t go through, they will buy it somewhere else.  The easier you can make their experience the better.  Which is why there is an entire industry built around user experience (UX for short). They study the best way for companies to create the ultimate user experience for their customers and leads.  Do what you can to make it simple, easy, and move forward in working with you.

8. Do what you say you’re going to do.

If you don’t keep your word before they are clients, then what is that showing them about how you will treat them and their business once they are clients? If you say you are going to complete something, show up for something, do something, just do it.  Even if it’s not perfect and most of the time it won’t be, what people will remember is that you showed up and did what you said you would. This just happened to me as I was writing these notes. Someone signed up for a consultation, I had a gut feeling they wouldn’t show up, but I called and did my due diligence regardless.  It doesn’t matter that I knew in my gut they would be a know show, I still did what I set my intention to do.  It’s the little things that add up to the big things.

9. Follow up with all your leads.

This is the number one reason people don’t close deals.  The salespeople (and you are a salesperson even if you don’t want to be) that follow up will close the deal. Because, people are busy. They don’t have time to babysit your business. If you want their business, it’s your job to show them that you not only want them as a customer but how you will treat them once they become customers.  It takes up to 11 times for someone to interact with you before they buy.  Don’t believe me? Go turn the tv on and watch how many commercials repeat during a single movie or a few shows.  I noticed it this weekend while I had Hallmark on (yep there was a marathon). Usually, I don’t watch much tv, but I happened to have it on in the background.  Within a 2 hour movie, I had seen the same 4 commercials at least 3 times.  Why? Because repetition sells.  People are busy, they need to be reminded of who you are and what you do.  Following up with them enables you to stay top of mind.

That’s a wrap for this week.  I would love to hear which of these you are taking action on so that you can beat the business busters.  Head on over to the Facebook group and let me know.

What did you learn from this episode? 

Come and tell me in the Facebook Group. Not in the group yet? Consider this your official invitation to join the Small Business Builders Community in the Facebook Group. Small Business owners unite to feed each other with inspiration, information, experiences, and knowledge.

Listen to the entire episode here:

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