Tips for Good First Impressions for Businesses
It takes only three to five seconds to make a first impression, according to Forbes Magazine. For a business, it is critical that the first impression be positive and reflects business values. If a client starts with a poor impression of a business, they are not likely to buy anything or want to return. They will also share their thoughts about a business with others, which results in even fewer sales. The following tips will help create an important good first impression.
1 – Clean up outside. The very first impression is made when pulling into the parking lot of a business. If there are weeds, cracked pavement, and a dirty building, some people may turn around and leave. Those who do venture in will already be wondering about the professionalism of the company. The first impression begins with the outward appearance of a building and parking space, so be sure it is clean, in good repair, and clearly shows the company name and logo.
2 – Have a memorable lobby. “While design and layout of the entire office is important, designers say the look of the lobby area is paramount”, according to The Economic Times. This is the first area a potential client sees and a good impression is important. Design the layout with the reception desk at least partially facing the main doors and the waiting area opposite the desk. Create waiting zones around the room if space permits. Decorate the room with company logo colors and calming artwork. The Economic Times also says, “An elegant water feature can create a soothing atmosphere”. The client should feel relaxed and welcome. The sound of running water can help promote this feeling with a wall water fountain that takes up little space.
3 – Good customer service. Every employee should smile and be welcoming and friendly. The receptionist should be informed of special guests who may be arriving so they can be greeted by name. Some retail stores have a greeter at the door to welcome customers in and answer any questions they may have. This shows customers they are important and helps them feel welcome. All questions or concerns a customer may have should be address immediately and professionally. And remember, small things make all the difference. Offer cold water or hot coffee to clients, notify customers of waiting times when they arrive, and try to stay on time for meetings and events.
4 – Dress for success. Personal appearance is critical and can make or break a deal. When meeting with clients, be sure to dress the part. Showing up in jeans and a T-shirt to a meeting where everyone else is in a suit gives a very poor impression. Even when standard dress code may be jeans, be sure to dress up for guests and special clients. Good personal hygiene and clean apparel, along with a smile and firm handshake, can start a meeting off in the right direction.
5 – Keep office spaces friendly. When a client enters an office, it should be warm and inviting. If space permits, place comfortable chairs facing the desk on the side of it rather than across from it. This makes the atmosphere more open and equal. Desks should be free of clutter and well organized. A messy desk gives the impression of laziness and sloppy work. Artwork on the walls should reflect what the company does. Pictures of past projects, parts in process, or awards will help show the professionalism of a company. A small wall water fountain helps provide a calm environment for anyone in the room.