Written by Shan Hughes of The Shantastic Hair Life

You never get a second chance at a first impression.

In our industry, if you want to keep clients coming back, making a great first impression should be part of your business plan. According to CBS news, you can make a lasting impression on someone within the first few minutes of interacting. If you don’t get this right, you may never get the chance for a do-over and you risk losing a customer before you have the chance to gain one.

Think about the interactions you have when you visit a new restaurant, shop for clothing in a new neighborhood store, or go for a job interview — your first impression of those places will determine whether or not you return to do business with the company or even recommend them to family and friends right? The same way you feel about encounters as a customer, your clients will feel about you and your brand’s first impression.

Today, in our tech-savvy world, clients can get a first impression of you before they even enter your salon or barbershop. Most often, first impressions start on your website or social media pages. That’s why it’s important to consider what kind of online presence you have and what message it’s sending to potential clients. Here are a few ways to keep your social media pages professional so you can attract the right clients who love your work. Once you feel confident that you’re giving new clients a strong first impression, it’s important to follow through with great customer service and an unbeatable experience. Here are a few tips to help you create a first impression that actually lasts.

Be Authentic

Whether online or in-person, trying to overdo it and not be authentic about who you are or what your company represents as a brand may later come to haunt you. It’s okay to make a “wow me” first impression, but is the “wow me” experience one that your customers will get every visit, or is it just to lure them in? Remember, the end goal is to build a loyal clientele that books often and recommends you to their friends.

Imagine this, it’s almost like being courted by your date and the first date goes great: you go to a fancy restaurant, he opens doors for you, and you have a long romantic walk in the park. By the second date, don’t you think you’d be expecting a similar experience, if not an even better one?

Be Consistent

The second impression and every appointment that follows is just as important as the first. Why? Because as a consumer, you want consistency. Treat every client like they are visiting your salon for the first time and make that first-impression-quality a business-standard. Creating consistency is the key to repeat business and referred business.

Give customers consistency and they will keep coming back and refer business.

Clients want consistency when it comes to speed of service, level of service, and quality of service. Believe it or not, your clients are mentally rating your business every visit by comparing their current visit to their last visit. That’s why it’s important to think of the appointment from your client’s perspective. This might be your sixth service of the day and you may have delivered a great experience all six times, but you’ve got your seventh client coming in and although you might be a little tired, this is your seventh client’s only impression of you for the day — make it a great one.

When you make your client’s experience a priority and focus on first impressions that last, you will also have customers that last.

Check out Shan on Instagram! 

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