First dates can be rough. You spend entirely too much time getting ready for something that lasts maybe three hours. You struggle through conversations and hope there’s nothing in your teeth while you take another big gulp of red wine and try to seem interesting. Meeting a new client isn’t too different from a dreaded first date. Will they like me? Will they be interested in what I have to say? Will they stick around?

Whether you’re on a first date or starting a new client relationship, the following rules can be applied:

First Impressions Really Do Count

Just like on a date, you don’t want to show up to a client meeting disheveled and unprepared. Make sure you’re well suited for the big day. Don’t show up without being prepared to ask the right questions. You want to make sure that first meeting is purposeful and memorable. Take control and make an impression that shows off your skills, personality and goals.

Date Rule #1: Bathe, bring flowers, and open car doors.

Client Rule #1:  Communicate, provide expectations, and follow-up.

It Takes Two…

Ever been a relationship where you’re giving 150% and your partner is giving a meager 10? Well, you want to avoid this type of relationship with your customers too. If you’re chasing down a client who cannot commit or is next to impossible to please it may be time to move along.

Date Rule #2: If you’ve called ten times in last week and no answer, call it quits.

Client Rule #2: If you’ve spent several weeks calling, emailing, tweeting and nothing in return, time to put them on hold.

Think Long-Term

Like dating, your main purpose is to find someone you want to grow old with and take care of for the long haul. Building relationships with your clients should be treated the same way. You need to look past getting one big order and think long-term. One big order is great but what you should really be thinking is how can you make it an ongoing big order?

Date Rule #3: Don’t focus on the first night but more into the future.

Client Rule #3: Really apply yourself from the beginning and consistently deliver results.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Depending on your morals, I would assume you don’t want to give too much away on your first date. Just like dating, you want to start a client relationship on the slower side. Take the time to really get to know their wants, desires and needs before you go into full on. Many times it’s best to start on the smaller side for first initiatives with clients. This lets your client see that you want to provide the best quality and allows you to really understand what they want.

Date Rule #4: Call it a night after dinner.

Client Rule #4: Do a trial campaign before you launch the big project.

Don’t be a Cheap Date

Would you go for the cheaper bottle of wine on your first date? The answer would be no if you’re trying to impress your partner.  Just like courting someone, you want to make sure you’re giving them the best of the best. If your client is looking for an engagement sharebait article you wouldn’t send them an article full of fluff, would you? Again, the answer would be no if you’re trying to impress your partner.

Date Rule #5: Don’t take them to McDonald’s on the first date.

Client Rule #5: Don’t cut corners, deliver a quality product from the start.

Give Them a Reason to Stay

So you’ve made it past the first few dates, time to bring out to sweatpants and quit the gym? Wrong. Keep the fire burning and continue to impress your customer consistently. If there are going to be any surprises, make them good ones. Stay on top of your game and always be proactive rather than reactive.

Date Rule #6: Continue to wine & dine your partner after the honeymoon stage.

Client Rule #6: Don’t turn the auto pilot switch on.

Starting work for a new client is like starting a new relationship. How do you treat client relationships? Are you more concerned about the first night? Or do you see the benefits of a long-term promise?