What is the first impression a potential customer or business associate has when they walk into your business? Have you thought about that lately? Do you monitor it?
The other day I had a meeting at a business associate’s office. They are located in regular strip mall and their signage is visible and well presented. No different than many companies in the area but when I opened the door I was surprised and impressed. The lobby area was extremely well presented; it was impeccably clean, despite the amount of people traffic coming and going in a snowy winter climate. The receptionist was friendly and helpful, and you could tell that she enjoyed her job. The facilities were modern, professional and, due to the nature of the business, had a high level of security. If I was a client I’d want to do business here, I’d inherently feel that my business would be handled professional, competently and with respect.
In contrast, later that day I visited two other businesses as a consumer. In the first case when I entered the business there was no one there, I couldn’t find anyone and didn’t know what to do. I wandered around the space looking for someone and finally found a person in the back that could help me. In the second case I couldn’t find the door to get to the business, there were a few signs that said “use the other door” but where was the other door? I did eventually find “the door” around the back only to find that the business was unexpectedly closed for two days without any explications. I was not impressed and will be reluctant to do business with either. In both cases I wonder how much business they lose on first impressions.
In a world of competition are you sending the right message when a prospective client or business associate walks through the door? Today, walk outside your company’s door and walk in as if it is your first time. How does it make you feel about the business? How can you improve the first impression people have? Are you handling people who walk in the door “like everyone else does in my industry” or are differentiating yourself? Remember the little thing make all the difference.