You just signed that new client.
You’re excited. Anxious to get started.
And you want to knock their friggin socks off out of the gate.
But, how the heck do you do that? How do you really make a great impression on that new client right away in that first month (other than the obvious–do great work)?
A few things that have worked for me over the years–both on the independent and agency sides:
Under-promise and over-deliver
This is key. Resist the urge to make crazy promises out of the gate (which will be tough). And focus on over-delivering on every key promise. Do that, and you will have one very happy client.
Get to know your client
Yes, the work is important. Of course. But, so is the relationship. One approach I learned along the way that has served me well is to ask at least one personal question when you first sit down with your client. How is your family? How was vacation? How was that Twins game you were at last night (obviously, they lost, but did you have fun watching them lose 8-1? :)? These kinds of questions will serve two purposes: 1) You’ll get to know your client better, building a long-term relationship, and 2) You’ll learn all sorts of things about your client that may come in handy down the line (think: Birthday/Holiday gift ideas).
Do one little unexpected thing every once in a while
Things I’ve done under this umbrella over the years: Delivered donuts to a early morning meeting; sent a few links along about a recent social media trend I thought might impact our work down the line; sent a handwritten thank you card just thanking the client for hiring me; and showing up to a mid-afternoon appointment with an iced coffee as a “pick me up.” The idea? Just think about one little thing you could do that would surprise your client each week. Early on, you want that client thinking: “Man, am I happy I hired this firm/person.”
Achieve at least one “quick win” in the first four weeks
Sometimes this is outside your control. Sometimes there are no “quick wins” early on. But, search for them nonetheless. Because they are big for your long-term success. Sure, the long-term success of your engagement is what matters, but again, those first few weeks are key. That is when the client is forming his/her initial impressions of you and your firm. So, you want to make sure those impressions are positive. If you can find just one quick win to notch–whether it’s project-based or simply making your client look good in front of his/her boss, you want to find that opportunity and take advantage. Trust me.
Those are my tips. What about you–what have you done to impress clients in that first month of the engagement?