Q: Help! I own a small consultancy business. A new client e-mailed me a few days ago but the message ended up in my spam folder, as did her follow-up. Now she won’t return my calls. How can I get her back? — Aaron

A: You probably can’t.

The new client concluded, fairly or unfairly (but fairly, I think) that if things are going wrong already, at the start of your working relationship, it does not bode well for work down the road.

But I suggest that a bigger issue is at play, namely, the value and power of first impressions. And especially in this economy, first impressions are more important than ever.

Back in my UCLA days, I once got a job as at a new pizza joint. My roommate at the time gave me some advice that has served me well ever since. “When you get a new job,” he told me, “work extra hard the first month. Do extra without being asked. Say yes to everything. They will see what a good, hard worker you are, and forever more will look at you through that lens.” I must say that I have since found this to be quite accurate. …more at Ask an Expert: You’ve got to impress clients from the get-go – USATODAY.com, published 16 February 2009

Flickr photo credit: cursedthing