Whether people admit it or not, everyone judges a book by its cover. So it'simportant to make sure the first time someone walks into your business or store,his or her first impression makes them want to buy.

Is it clean?
This doesn't include just the easy things, like the floors and windows. Howare the merchandise racks, the corners that are hard to get at, the fittingrooms, the rest rooms - anywhere a customer can see? Take a tour and askyourself.

Is it clear?
If you were a total stranger walking into the business, could you figure outwhere to buy what you're looking for? Sure, you've got promotional displays inprominent places and overhead signs to point out the high-margin merchandise,but can your customers also find their way to the basics? If they can't, theymay not come back to buy those high-margin items.

Is the environment inviting?
No, your office or store isn't a living room or a lounge. But is it acomfortable place to be? Is the decor pleasant, or is it jarring? If you playmusic, have you selected songs and a volume level that make people happy to bethere, or wishing they could escape?

Are the people inviting?
Do your cashiers really thank customers and ask them to come back, ordo they just mouth the words while thinking about something else? Do your peopleon the floor talk with one another while in front of customers? If a customerasks where an item is, do your people walk them to the right place in the store,or do they simply tell them what aisle to look in?

Chances are, at least 90% of what you sell can be bought somewhere elsenearby, and probably for about the same price. It's your customers' firstimpressions that can have the most impact on whether they stay to buy - andwhether they come back - or just stroll through and leave.

Copyright© 1999 SalesDoctors Magazine and the Author. All Rights Reserved.