The little things that kill

Marketing Tips February 23, 2011 by Steven Q
I’m going to address the problems you might be letting go because you can’t see them in front of you. What I’m not going to address are the obvious style issues like a perfectly bad business card or a funky looking logo. I’m talking about the little things that make a big impact. Or in some cases the big things with a big impact. 
Have you heard the expression, “you can’t see your backside so you really have no idea how big it is.” You probably haven’t, because I just made that up now, but it’s my experience that you always sound smarter if you act like you’re quoting someone (or if you use an English accent.) Anyway, my point is that everyone else around you can see it but you won’t do anything about it until you see it for yourself. Let’s cover some back side issues:
1)      Messy office. My office used to be notoriously messy through out the day, but you better believe if I have a customer over I’m throwing everything under my desk. (or in a drawer and I’ll sort it out later.) But if a customer drops in unannounced what could I do. I used to lie to myself by thinking it made it look like I was busy, but in reality I new it made me look unorganized. If you’re unorganized, get organized or at least make it look like you are. If you haven’t lost an important paper yet, you are bound to. Don’t wait till that happens to fix the problem.
2)       No signage. If you have an office, get a sign. If it’s nothing more than a piece of paper taped to the window, at least laminate it. Unless you’re running your business incognito, do something to let people know you’re legit. 
3)      Unprofessional home office. If you work from home and you think people are cool with going into your house, think again. Unless you have a really great relationship with the client, you want to think about getting a virtual office space or even just meeting at a coffee shop. That can get expensive, especially since most of the time you may be inclined to pay as you would normally need to offer a refreshment of some kind if you had a physical office space. For some people, meeting in your home is a necessity. I think it’s great to work from home, but if people are meeting at your home, then do your best to put them at ease. Here are a couple of tips.  Make your office look like it would if you had an office space. Yes, desk and chairs not the dining room table. I find this works a lot better than “meet me in the bedroom.” Besides, these things kind of make them feel a bit at ease and can change an attitude from “You work from home?” to “Wow, you lucky bastard! You get to work from home.”
4)      Food on your shirt. I always have a clean shirt at the office in case I spill something on myself. It sounds like a stupid thing, but chances are you have done it. You spill coffee, Bar BQ or ketchup… and o’crap, you have a meeting in 30 minutes. Your appearance is everything no matter how many times you’ve met with the customer. Dress as if it’s your first meeting. 
5)      What’s that smell? Use a breath mint and keep deodorant in the car, in the office and anywhere else it can be easily reached. This isn’t a problem for everyone, but most people that have this problem don’t know it and chances are people won’t tell you. 
6)      Get over yourself. Some people hate talking about themselves, but some people can’t get enough of the sound of their voice. I always recommend letting people know about you because that’s just good marketing, but listen to what the other person has to say. If you talk more than the person you’re speaking with, chances are you’re not having a conversation, you’re giving a speech. One great sales tip I learned is to let the other person talk about themselves until they give you a clue on how you can help them. It’s ok to talk about yourself, but pay attention and wrap it up when the other person gets that glazed look on their eyes. Hint: it’s when they stop blinking.

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