Good Coffee, Surfing and Your Bottom Line

Build business by showing your clients that you are creative, resourceful, and detail oriented -- from the way you serve coffee to the design of your website!

I'm sure you agree that it's hard to judge the quality of some services until we experience them. Quite often the only basis for our choice is the conversation with the service provider, Sometimes we judge the look and feel of the business place and quality of their printed materials. If we're are lucky we can review testimonials and if we are very lucky someone we know and trust refers us to that business. But most of the time we still experience anxiety when making a decision to buy from someone for the first time. We wish we could have more reasons to be confident, don't you agree?

It is oh-so-important to remember all of this when we sell our own services. Because no matter how great our expertise and no matter how wonderful our marketing materials are, the prospects don't *KNOW* how good we are until they *experience* what we really do for them. So, they are *entitled* to be skeptical, distrustful, reserved and thinking about hiring someone else instead us. It is natural.

I used to conduct business in a very busy real estate office. The only coffee you could get there was served in styrofoam cups, with plastic stirrers and powdered creamer. Coffee wasn't that good either. It bothered me because I love a good coffee experience. So, I brought my own coffee machine, my own demitasse cups and saucers. My own little spoons and my own special blend of coffee. When I was meeting with prospects or clients I served them my kind of coffee. It took me a while to realize the big impact it had on my business.

You see, by serving prospective clients a good cup of coffee I'd create a lasting impression that I'm creative, resourceful and detail oriented. And that I care more about quality than just about my convenience.

By serving a superb cup of coffee in a pretty demitasse with a cute little teaspoon, I planted in their subconscious a thought that if I pay so much attention to serving a nice cup of coffee, chances are great that I pay attention to my work. Which, of course, was true. People loved my coffee (if you'd like a recipe, go to http://loska.com/columns/coffee.html) and it was one of the reasons they loved to do business with me.

What that has to do with YOUR bottom line? Everything. Please remember that at the beginning of the relationship, your prospects are skeptical, distrustful, reserved and thinking about hiring someone else. Understand that without other references, they often base their decisions not on the quality of your work -- which they cannot understand -- but on the way you talk, walk, and dress. They judge you by the little things. Your handshake and your eye contact (ingredients vary from culture to culture). They judge the level of your enthusiasm, your generosity, your ability to listen, your attitude. All of those little things score for you extra points... or not.

On the Internet, people judge us by the look and content of our web sites. If we make their surfing experience satisfying and pleasurable, they remember us fondly and it helps to gain their trust. But if we subject them to frustration -- our conversions go down, no matter how terrific our service or product might be. Pay attention not only to content of your site but also to those little things: fast loading graphics, simple navigation, easy to read copy and easy to find contact information... The more positive experience people have, the more likely you gain their confidence. And that, just like my special coffee, will have a tremendous impact on your bottom line!

Wanda Loskot is professional speaker, author and personal coach specializing in small business. Sign up for her FREE mini-course "7 Strategies For Lasting Internet Success" and learn what you need to know about building business on the Internet by reading just one short e-mail per day! http://InternetSuccessCoach.com

  

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