Intentionally or not, we all make snap judgments. When you’re about to sign a contract for your business or spend your hard-earned money, you’re going to be more critical than ever. Little things you may not notice about your office, from a carpet that needs vacuuming, to folding plastic chairs that are old and grimy, to the appearance of your staff, could give clients a feeling of unease. Any amount of discomfort for a potential customer is likely to be a lost sale for you. Avoid losing business by avoiding these things.
Over or Under-Dressed staff
We’ve all heard that what you wear to a job interview is important because it’s likely the hiring manager will make a decision about you within the first minute of meeting. When you’re attempting to impress a new client, the same rule applies. Dress appropriately for your type of business and have your employees who will interact with the public do the same. You would question a lawyer whose office is full of people in jeans, but you probably wouldn’t trust a plumber in an expensive suit either. A dress code or uniform isn’t necessary for every business, but have guidelines in place so everyone is dressed in a way that will impress your clients and make them feel comfortable with their decision to hire you or buy from you.
Messy or Dirty Surroundings
It is impossible to overstate the importance of keeping a clean and tidy office. Even if your job involves hands-on and sometimes dirty work, nobody wants to see a mess on your desk, cobwebs in the corners, or unidentifiable stains on the carpet in your hallway. Even if you think your office is fine, opinions of “clean” and “tidy” differ, so ask the pickiest person you know to take a look and be honest with you. Once you’re certain your office is spotless, keep it that way by cleaning every night before you leave, or hire a cleaning service to do it for you. Daily vacuuming and bathroom cleaning, wiping and dusting all surfaces once a week, and washing your windows every month sounds like a lot of work and it’s likely nobody will notice that you’re doing it, but they certainly will notice if you’re not.
Doing business in a Physically Uncomfortable Setting
There are very few things that will make someone emotionally uncomfortable faster than being physically uncomfortable. If you’re conducting meetings or have many people in your office at once, always make sure you have high-quality plastic stacking chairs or extra seating available to use at a moment’s notice that can be stored away easily and looks nice. If you have a waiting area, make sure it has comfortable seating and, if appropriate, some type of entertainment in the case anyone is waiting for a while. If your clients will be in your office for long periods of time, make water and coffee available, as well as a clean and comfortable restroom.