We often talk about the importance of first impressions. They are, of course, extremely important. Great thought and effort is put into how we present ourselves for the first time in any situation. Think about all those "firsts", a first date, a first job interview, meeting your child's teacher for the first time. We put a little extra effort preparing for the first time we are going to meet someone we want to impress. However, what about the second, third or even tenth time we have an encounter? Chances are you relax into something less formal which is natural. However, this can be a slippery slope when it comes to your brand.
Great branding is based in consistency. You certainly do want to make a spectacular first impression. In business a great first impression can open the door for you. What keeps that door open, however, is what happens next.
Anyone can look great and be charming once in a while, but it's how you behave and present yourself over the long haul that really matters. You may date someone who is cute and fun to be with, but you probably would not marry that person unless they showed over time they were also kind, committed, caring, and honest etc. You don't want to "date" your clients. You want to build long term relationships with them. They need to trust you. They need to see you value the relationship. You do this by continuing to put your best effort forward.
Can your clients count on you? Do you consistently respond in a timely matter to emails and phone calls, or do your clients have to pester you for answers? Do you continue to dress sharply when you meet with your clients to show you respect them, or you have let your guard down with your appearance? Do you find extra ways of showing your clients you value their business or do you figure they just "know" you appreciate them?
Remember your brand is held in the mind of your clients over time. If you want them to see you as marrying material you must continue to show them you care.