You never get a second chance to make a first impression. While it may be an older saying, its truth endures. Studies have shown that first impressions can last for months. A bad first impression could result in the majority of people being driven away. The first email, the first handshake, the initial text or phone call, all serve to create an image that will shape the relationship for the long term.
Every performer or service provider has two critical moments to nail the first impression. Knowing how to handle each could mean closing more bookings, gaining more repeat customers, and growing your business.
The Initial Contact
When the alert comes that you have a gig request, you only have moments to frame the discussion for engaging the client. Here are a few tips to get the online interaction right:
- Reply to everything. Even if you can’t do the gig, an energetic thank you and wishing their event well can lead to future gigs. GigSalad offers great tools like a Saved Messages feature to make it easy to send a quick reply to each lead.
- Respond quickly. One of the worst things you can do is ignore a client when they reach out to you. Make sure and establish a process where you are regularly checking your inbox and connecting with clients as soon as possible. Setting up text notifications on your GigSalad profile can help make sure you never miss a lead.
- Keep it brief. Be careful not to overwhelm the event planner with too many details. A quick hello and a simple request, “Tell me more about your event,” can go a long way. Remember that you are there to participate in their event and to help solve their problem.
- Be professional and accessible. You are the pro. Answer questions politely and patiently. Avoid language that is crass or too familiar. Strike a careful balance between educating and talking down.
- Respect their preferences. It’s an easy mistake, but one that can be costly. Let them set the pace and flow of communication. Try and be flexible and communicate the way they prefer.
Remember that you’re the pro and are there to help solve their problem.
At some point, you’ll meet with the client on the phone or in person. Remember these basic guidelines to ensure success:
- Be on time. Nothing communicates respect and professionalism more than being punctual. If you cannot avoid being late, communicate quickly and often.
- Be presentable. Even if you are the grungiest of Alice in Chains tribute bands, you’re still a business person and a baseline of professional behavior and dress always helps.
- Be confident. How you carry and present yourself is critical to the first impression. Simple things like an appropriate handshake, eye contact, standing up straight and speaking clearly are all proven methods to create a positive and lasting first impression.
The first impression is the standard of the entire relationship. Following these simple steps and guidelines can make sure you’re setting the stage for a great event! Want more advice? Check out our 4 keys to effective communication.