In business, most people would agree, it is important to make a good first impression.

They will try to do this by ensuring they are well groomed, dressed professionally, have arrived on time and are fully prepared for the meeting.

There are many experts from around the world with differing opinions on how long it takes for someone to form a first impression, from milliseconds up to 30 seconds.

Below is a list of tips for making a great first impression:

  • Be on time
  • Be polite
  • Be confident
  • Be friendly and professional with receptionists
  • Be well groomed
  • Be patient if your client is late and be willing to reschedule
  • Dress professionally
  • Shake hands professionally (not too firm, not too weak, not too long)
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Use a professional salutation
  • Thank the client for meeting with you

Or is it? Sure 10 years ago this would be exactly what you should be doing to ensure that you make a great first impression, but today, are you actually making your first impression when you arrive at your client’s office?

I would suggest that often you are not. IBM conducted a survey and found that 78% of customers use Social Media as part of their buying process. An increasing number of buyers are checking out their vendors on LinkedIn before they have even met them.

If this is the case, what would be their first impression of you, if they were to look you up on LinkedIn right now? Do you have a profile picture? What does your headline say about you? How many recommendations and endorsements do you have? These are just a few items that clients are looking at and using to form an impression of you.

Of course when you go to meet with them in person, you will still want to follow the tips above, but now as a reinforcement of their earlier first impression. What will you do to stand out from the crowd?

If you didn’t think it was important to build a strong LinkedIn profile before, hopefully you do now