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Business Etiquette

In today’s digital age, we rarely hand write a letter over typing an email and we often text someone instead of calling them.  So, imagine how much more that first impression matters when you meet a client face-to-face.  It is imperative to review your etiquette skills (or lack thereof) and make adjustments, if needed, in order to stay competitive in your specific market. 

Although a lot has changed in the last 15-20 years, businesses are still built on relationships.  You simply cannot build a strong relationship if you don’t get past the initial meeting.  In order to make a positive first impression, set the proper tone and build trust and confidence in your potential client you need to follow these simple guidelines:

  • Be impressionable and professional
  1. Make sure you smell and look clean. This means taking a shower the day of, using deodorant, avoiding heavy smelling cologne or perfume and brushing your hair into an appropriate hairstyle. Make sure your fingernails are trimmed and/or manicured nicely.  Some of the best deodorants for both men and women include Unscented Dry Idea - and Drysol (prescription only so ask your doctor).
  2. Brush your teeth, floss and use mouthwash prior to your meeting. Nothing will scare a client more than bad breath (other than body odor).  Some of the best toothpaste and mouthwash include Therabreath -, Closys - and Smartmouth -
  3. Wash and iron clothing so they do not smell dirty or look wrinkled. Wear appropriate clothing that is neither too tight or too loose and sloppy.  Whether you are representing a skateboarding clothing company or an accounting firm, choose an outfit that is professional and updated/stylish.  Don’t be afraid to use an online personal shopping site if you need help with your wardrobe.  Some popular ones include Trunkclub -, Keaton Row -, and Dailylook Elite -
  4. Take “inventory” at least 30 minutes prior to the meeting: Do you have all of the necessary printed sales material? Do you have everything on your laptop that you need (if taking)? Do you have plenty of business cards and where are they stored?  Is your briefcase or handbag clean and free of clutter and/or stains?  One large company that makes beautiful and affordable business cards is Moo - and there are other small businesses that even make letterpress business cards on Etsy such as invitedink -  For business card cases and holders you can choose from very simple to more fashionable at Prim&Proper -
  • Be memorable and personable
  1. SMILE, offer a handshake and introduce yourself with confidence and look at the person in the eye.
  2. Until you begin building rapport do not assume anything or ask inappropriate or too personal questions. Address him or her by their first name or Mr. Blank or Ms. Blank depending on the situation. 
  3. Wait to sit down until they offer or ask if it’s okay to sit down at a certain spot (not theirs).
  4. Before leaving, take out and offer a business card with your left hand and let them know you will be in touch to follow-up regarding anything you discussed during the meeting.
  5. SMILE, offer a firm handshake and thank them for their time.

Reviewing these simple rules every 6 months to a year will ensure you are ahead of your competition and getting the most out of every meeting you encounter. 

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