Thursday, March 23, 2006

First Impressions Count

Whether just starting a virtual assisting business or having been in business for years, it's important to always remember that the initial impression you leave with potential clients is critical. Often it can be the determining factor in whether you get the client or not.

The key is portraying confidence, whether it's corresponding back to an e-mail, on the phone, or in person. You need to reassure these clients that if they trust you with their work, you won't let them down. In fact, they'll be amazed just how good of a job you do!

With your VA business you will either be responding to a client via e-mail, phone, or in person. Here are a few tips for each:

E-mail -- Keep your reply short and to the point. No client wants to read through paragraphs of text to get to the bottom line. Be friendly, yet professional. Provide all the needed information they requested and any other information you believe would be relevant. Use a signature line that provides all your contact information. Toot your horn a little. Include a paragraph that sings praises of your business and how you can help their business.

Phone - Always answer the phone in a professional, cheerful manner. Use Caller ID so that you know who's calling before you pick up the phone. This give you advance notice of what demeanor you need. Don't talk excessively. Keep in mind that most clients are busy and appreciate short, to-the-point conversations. Always have the information you need to relay to a client at hand. Be firm on your rates and business practices. Don't sound hurried. If you are working on a deadline, let your answering machine get it and call them back when you are more relaxed.

In Person - Dress the part. Not only does this make you feel more confident, but it conveys to them that they are dealing with a fellow professional. Be enthusiastic about your business and let them know that you want their business. Show interest and knowledge of their business. Have the right tools with you and close at hand. You don't want to have to look for a pen or your business cards. Have something such as a portfolio for them to keep that describes your business. This enables them to remember you after the appointment and also gives them an additional opportunity to check out the services you offer.

The ability to create a good first impression is a valuable asset for a virtual assistant and one that enables a business to grow. However, another valuable asset is being able to learn from your mistakes. After the interview if it didn't go well analyze what you could do better the next time and then do it. Mastering these first impressions can take some time, but the reward is a thriving business that you can be proud of.


Diana Ennen is the author of numerous books including Virtual Assistant -The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA, Words From Home, Start, Run and Profit from a Home-Based Word Processing Business ( . She also is the publisher of the science fiction thriller, Sledgehammer,

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