Many are so focused on selling the “sizzle”or playing with the latest shiny gadget or social media platform that they forget the basics.
You must get the basics right first
or none of that will matter.
It goes without saying that your client’s first impression of your brand, office and even your staff is of paramount importance.
The way you present yourself and your working environment says a lot about your brand values and the company as a whole, so it’s important to get it right.
Think about your office as an extension of your brand.
How do you want your customers to see you?
Whether you have a shopfront or just a sign outside an office block, make it count. Keep all signage up to date and free from spelling and grammatical errors. Remove any signs of vandalism immediately. If you have a visible store front, keep the windows spotless and update your displays or window information regularly to increase interest.
Meeting and Greeting
Make sure all staff know the protocol for greeting a visitor. Should they offer to take their coats? Should they offer them a hot drink? Is there any reading material for them to browse while they wait? All staff need to be clued up. If you have a receptionist, make sure they’re comfortable with the procedure. This will be the first person your guest meets when they visit you at your office, so it’s crucial that they have a friendly attitude.
Furniture makes a surprising difference to the way we view a room. Dated, chunky furniture suggests your company may not have enough money to afford anything better, and suggests that you don’t care about the way you are seen. Of course, this isn’t a good thing. Ergonomic chairs are relatively inexpensive these days, and sleek glass furniture doesn’t date, so is perfect if you want to invest in a new office furniture set. Glass also indicates transparency. To establish your authority, make sure you have an executive chair and desk.
Not all offices will have music playing in the background, but many studies show that music can improve efficiency and productivity. However, make sure it’s the right kind of music. When clients are visiting, don’t opt for anything too heavy or fast. You want to create a calming atmosphere, so classical music is ideal for this. If not, the local radio is a good option, as it will be client-friendly.
The final impression is just as important as the first impression. This is what the clients will take away from your meeting, so be sure to impress them. If you have any samples or product information you can send them away with, do so. Give them your business card, and remember not to say anything about the meeting until they’ve definitely left the building. Otherwise you could be left embarrassed and backtracking about something they’ve overhead that you shouldn’t have said.
Thomas Bardot is a small business development coach who advises businesses on the best methods to impress clients
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