They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. This common phrase drives the importance of making your first interaction with someone a great one. Positive first impressions are important when meeting your legal clients as they can help them feel more comfortable during your meeting.
Since many of us are working in a hybrid environment, it’s important to be prepared to meet with your clients either virtually or in person. Luckily, there are ways you can make a favorable first impression online and in the office, helping your clients feel more comfortable overall.
Consider your digital first impression
Since many lawyers and clients have gotten used to being digital within the past year, you may think you’re all set in this area. But, to make a good first impression and have it translate to your clients being comfortable with you, keep in mind:
- Your email communication: When a client sets up a meeting with you, make sure it’s clear on what platform they’ll join, if they need to prepare anything, what you’ll discuss, and that you look forward to helping them. You’ll make your client feel less intimidated of meeting with you when they know what to expect.
- Your background: Besides you, your Zoom or Teams background is what your client will notice when they join the meeting. Try to keep your background simple, but feel free to add a nice painting or picture in the background to show more of your personality. Your client will be less overwhelmed when there isn’t a lot going on behind you.
- Your facial expressions: It’s hard to show body language over video, so focus on your facial expressions. Smiling and nodding when appropriate shows that you’re actively listening to your client when they are speaking. This helps clients have a more favorable impression of you, making them feel more at ease.
Even though many lawyers and clients have been virtual this past year, it’s important to consider what digital factors you can control. Focusing on your digital first impression can help ease any initial stress your client may have when meeting for the first time.
Make your clients comfortable in-person
Even though many of us have gotten used to online meetings, some are transitioning back into the office. Consider providing in-office meeting options as some prefer in-person communication. If your first meetings are in-person, consider:
- Clear signage: Imagine you’re walking into an unfamiliar building. You would want to know exactly where to go, how to check-in, if masks are required, even if people have been vaccinated. Direct clients so they aren’t as stressed when walking into your office for the first time.
- A welcoming waiting space: This is an easy area where you can make your clients comfortable. Set up nice chairs or couches, have coffee and water ready, and have hand sanitizer set out. The hospitality will go a long way.
- Your body language: After being virtual this past year, we may have formed some bad body language habits. Make sure you’re sitting up straight, not crossing your arms, making eye contact, and gesturing and nodding when applicable.
If you’re able to provide in-person meetings, keep these points in mind when meeting clients for the first time. Since many are still transitioning to in-person activities, encourage your clients to be comfortable and view your firm positively by creating an inviting office space.
Additionally, don’t forget that phone calls are also where clients can form first impressions of your firm. Clients can feel lost when a professional answering service or receptionist isn’t guiding them through the call. Investing in this area will encourage them to not be afraid to phone with any questions and to set up a meeting with you.
Having a good first impression on your clients can help them feel more comfortable and at ease when meeting for the first time. Make sure to consider both virtual and in-person meeting environments since many of us are operating in a hybrid work environment. If you need more help on how to make a good first impression digitally, check out our webcast on how to look your best online.
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