How Not To Speak To Customers, Prospects And Competitors

It's bring your manners to work day ...


I know what you're thinking, surely every day you need to bring your manners to work? Well, yes, you do, but it's surprising the number of business owners I've come across that forget that ...

This is a perfect example of how not to speak to customers!

This is a perfect example of how not to speak to customers!

copyright: imageegami / 123rf stock photo (licensee)

I've walked into networking events before and felt completely ignored and inadequate, with people looking down their noses at me and almost refusing to speak with me. Not the best first impression I'm sure you'll agree!

I've heard our sales team get sworn at, shouted at and hung up on more times than I can count; do these people not realise that at some point, we might require their services, but that now there's no way we would even consider using them as a supplier?

Representing a business is a 24/7 job, even more so in the world of small businesses, where everyone knows everyone and word spreads fast!

Hiring the correct employees is crucial for the reputation of your business, whether you send them out networking, or clients visit your offices, they will at some point come into contact with your customers, your prospects and your competitors.

It's vital that you can be confident that your employees will correctly represent your business, so let's remind ourselves of the key aspects of good business etiquette:

  1. Be Punctual

    We all know how valuable our time is and how costly it can be not to use it efficiently. Showing up late to meetings or events reveals a lack of respect for the person you are meeting and suggests that you don't value their time.

    Ensure that you plan ahead, well in advance before a meeting. Have clear in your head the route you are taking, how long it will take and allow some extra time, just in case!

  2. Of course, there are occasions when running late is inevitable and when it really could not have been avoided. At these times, it's vital that you ring ahead and make whoever you're meeting aware that you'll be late. This way, they are free to use their time as they wish until you arrive.

  3. Dress Appropriately

    Depending on who you're meeting, where you're meeting and what the meeting is about will determine the type of attire that will be deemed acceptable. If you have clients coming into your offices, make sure you that you and your team are dressed smartly or in uniform if you provide one. The way you dress can play a crucial role in how seriously you are taken in the business world.

  4. Acknowledge Others

    When attending networking events, it's good to look out for those that are looking a little lost. Perhaps it's their first time networking or maybe they just haven't attended that particular event before.

    Either way, be the one to show them the ropes and get them introduced. Not only is it polite, but it'll definitely put you in their good books and open up potential for a great referral partnership!

  5. Don't Use Your Phone During Meetings

    Just as it's rude to use your phone at the dinner table, it's rude to be replying to emails or answering calls during a meeting. It doesn't come across at all professional and it makes the person you're with feel undervalued. They should be your primary focus, not your phone.

  6. Have A Strong Handshake

    When meeting new people, or even meeting someone for the second or third time, it's important to have a good, strong handshake. Make sure you stand up to greet them and welcome them as you would like to be welcomed. Remain professional and friendly at all times.

  7. Remember Your Ps & Qs

    One of the biggest things in life, not just in business, is remembering to say your please and thank yous. As far as I'm concerned, this should be second nature to most of us, but there's no harm in consciously making sure that you are being polite at all times.

Of course, there are plenty of other things we can do to ensure that we come across as professionally as possible when out in the business world. Set an example for your team by first doing these yourself and remember that these days, you are your brand!

Until next time ...



If you’re worried about missing important calls while in meetings or attending events, don’t forget that you can always divert your phones to The Genies. Just give Carlie or Kelly a call on 01604 529170!


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