First Impressions Count, No Matter How Long You’ve Been in Business

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Isn’t it interesting how much our priorities can change over time, so that 10 or 15 years later there’s been a seismic shift from where we started?

Paying attention to appearances is one area where this tends to happen. New advisers are typically very mindful of the impact their personal appearance and office environment have on clients—particularly since those clients may be two or three times their age. But after spending years building a successful business, many advisers let such things fall by the wayside.

Let’s face it, appearances do matter. Every so often, it’s important to consider the impression your firm makes on others—be it a prospect, existing client, strategic alliance or someone you’d like to become a strategic alliance.

Everything Speaks

When was the last time you thought about the photo on your website or LinkedIn page, what you wear to work every day, or the atmosphere of your office? These details generally don’t go unnoticed, no matter how excellent your financial advice and service may be.

I’m reminded of the story of an adviser who tried and tried to get a specific CPA firm to refer clients to him. For business reasons in general, the adviser moved his office to a more upscale building in a nicer part of town. Suddenly, he began getting referrals from the CPA firm. Was this merely a coincidence, or did the new address make a difference?

Cheap rent is certainly a plus, but not if your location is sending the wrong message to the people you’re trying to attract.

What Message Are You Sending?

Having visited hundreds of advisers, I’m often surprised to find myself in offices that are in need of an update. When we see things every day, it’s easy to overlook the wear and tear that happens over time.

To be sure, business culture and life in general have become more casual in the 21st century. But when casual turns to sloppy, things have gone too far. If you’re unsure about the message your office is sending, consider getting an outside opinion. Others may notice things that you no longer see.

Joni Youngwirth_2014 for webJoni Youngwirth
Managing Principal of Practice Management

Commonwealth Financial Network
Waltham, Mass.

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