Second Impressions Matter Too: How to Recover a Client From a Bad Initial Impression

April 3, 2020 Jessica Stewart

The first 17 seconds of interacting with your client can make or break your business deal. Research suggests that appearance and tone of voice most affect the longstanding impression you will leave.

So, what happens when you bomb this interaction with a client. Can you recover initial impressions?

Recovering Initial Impressions

Though this meeting does greatly influence your client's next move, you can recover after bombing it. Read on to learn how to get a re-do on first impressions.


A sincere apology can take you a long way. Everybody knows life happens, so humble yourself.

But, know that this apology can further dig your grave if not executed properly. Start by expressing your remorse with an "I'm sorry for the way I came off..."

Then, take accountability for your error. An apology can quickly go sour when it feels more people start pointing fingers.

Offer amends. You can do this by simply asking if you can do anything to redeem yourself.

Or, if you know exactly where you offended the client, offer up sufficient amends to more than fix your error. This will also show them that you truly recognize your error.

Lastly, give your word that this will never happen again, and stick by it. If you repeat the mistake, you will lose all credibility.

Let It Go

Dwelling on to your first-time flop will only make it more difficult for your client to forget about it. Once you give a proper apology, let it go unless they bring it up again.

Build Your Network

Learn how to network. Doing so will strengthen your image.

With a strong network to back you up, your client will see your potential credibility. Growing a powerful network helps vouch for your professionalism and will make it easier for them to overlook your bad impression as an honest mistake.

Dress to Impress

The next time you meet this client, make sure you're dressed for success. You want to rebuild your image by making the best impressions from here on out. 

To do this, dress conservatively, not sexy. Do not wear anything wrinkled.

Remove piercings and hide tattoos. Try not to get flashy, as this can also leave a bad impression.

Focus on your hygiene before the meeting. Look well-kempt and do not go in with bad breath. Also, avoid showering in fragrance, as this will turn people off immediately.

Listen to Them

Once you apologize, listen to everything they need to say. Avoid talking over them or cutting them off to defend yourself.

Actively listen to their concerns, and then hopefully their business proposal to build a positive impression. Failure to listen will keep them with a sour taste in their mouth, no matter how smoothly you apologize.

Always Present Your Best Self

Always put your best face forward. Though initial impressions carry a lot of weight, consistency in how you behave from then on shows that you are genuine, which people need to see all the time.

We want you to succeed in your business ventures. Check out our upcoming expo speakers that can offer you the best marketing advice!


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