Tip # 9: Be professional
Be professional in your speech. Don’t use inappropriate language (slang, profanity, obscure references, unnecessary jargon, etc.). Speak so your customer understands you.
Be professional in your dress. Your clothing should be neat and clean. Depending on your profession and your customers. you may need to conceal your tatoos. (Yea, even the US Marine Corps is cracking down.)
Understand your customer’s ethnic and corporate cultures. In western cultures a firm handshake and solid eye contact are cirtical to making a first impression. But what if you are a woman trying to do business in Asia, the Middle East, or Africa? What if you’re calling on a small software company here in the US where the dress code is t-shirts and shorts? (Tip: Many say dress one level above your customers, but I don’t think this means you need to wear a tuxedo to a meeting with a banker.)
Fulfil your commitments. When you make ’em–keep ’em.
Be ethical in your behavior.
Don’t speak negatively about your competition.
Be sure your humor is appropriate.
No matter how hard it was to get the appointment, don’t show up on your customer’s doorstep when you’re ill. She doesn’t want your flu. Or to listen to you sniff every three seconds during your thirty-minute appointment. She won’t believe you when you say you’re not contagious.
Don’t waste your customers’ time. Depending on your customer’s personality and “to do” list, this will vary. Be sure you don’t wear out your welcome. Especially when you’re an extrovert and your customer is an introvert.
Speaking of time, be on time.
Say “thank you” in a timely and appropriate manner.
If you’ve built a reputation for being an expert in a particular field, make sure you walk your talk. In other words, if you are an expert on personal finance, make sure you follow your own advice.
Another Dale Carnegie quote: “Be a good listener.” This is directly related to:
Don’t sell your customer something he neither wants nor needs.
There are undoubtably more. But I’ll bet you’re starting to get the picture.