Have you looked at yourself lately?
By: Mike Lipshultz

It is amazing the number of business people that have no idea about the importance of first impressions.

The first thing to know about first impressions is there is more to them then just looking like you know how to dress yourself and bath regularly. Hopefully I do not have to tell you about the importance of physically looking as professional as you can. Remember if you look disorganized in your appearance, you look disorganized in your business.

So, let’s start with your business cards. Never print your cards on your laser printer. Yes, the paper stock you can get is nice and colorful; wonderful designs and all that. Just one thing, they are so thin and lightweight, people can tell you printed them yourself. Basic business cards are less then $30.00 for 500 cards. When you hand me a do-it-yourself card you are telling me you don’t have the $30.00 to spend on cards, or your company is so new you have not had the two days it take to get cards done. Either way, I do not want to hire you. The next thing is handing out business cards when you have taken a pen and written in your new address or phone number. All I’m going to think is if you are too cheap to get new cards, you are not the person I want to do business with.

The next thing after your business cards is your mouth. In first impressions the less you use it the better. Please do not walk up to me, hand me your business card and go on and on about how great you and your company are. If you go on and on about you, I’m going to be bored, stop listening, and you will never make the sale. Do walk up to me and ask me my name, and what I do. Note, I said what I do, not the name of my company. By taking the time to find out what I do and how I do it, I will like you. Why? Because it is human nature to like someone that shows an interest in you. After listening to me and asking questions about my company, you will know if I have a need for your services. Now I’m standing there liking you, and listening as to how you can help me. Remember that you have to sell yourself before you can sell your goods or services.

Look at all the things the public sees in dealing with you. Do they make people think "gee, they are nice people," or "what a bunch of jerks." It is not hard to be nice. Think about how you can be nice. If you give out promotional items, give them out. Let people know, "please take one" even if the do not need your services. They will like your generosity, and now they will not only tell others, they will have your name and number on the promotional item. Do you go to Trade Shows, or Expos? Spend the money to make your table look nice. It does not cost much to get a nice tablecloth (rent or purchase). Give out some nice candy and let people know they are welcome to it, even if they do not need your services. Remember that when you make a good impression and people are thinking how nice you are, they will talk about you to others.

So, instead of turning people off to you and your company, you can easily turn them into customers, and a source of referrals.

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Last modified: November 08, 2002