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Over a Dozen Ways to Prep for, and Host Client Visits

Making a good impression on clients and potential clients is critical to your business success. Engage all your employees in ensuring that any visitor to your office feels welcome and confident in doing business with you.

Preparing for Office Visitors

1. Give clear directions. Have precise directions to your office prepared. Make them available on your website so people can find them easily. Mention important landmarks so first-time visitors will know they're on the right path.

2. Offer to pick clients up at the airport. Depending on your location, you may want to offer to pick people up at the airport or rail station or let them know the best place to park. By making their arrival as smooth as possible, they'll feel more comfortable and ready for business.

3. Alert the entire staff. Notify all employees when important clients visit. Give them a chance to straighten up messy desks or wear their best business attire.

4. Put up a sign. A simple sign or banner greeting visitors by name is a thoughtful touch. Just ensure you have the correct spellings. You could even invest in an electronic display you can program as needed.

5. Draft an agenda. Focus on the purpose of the visit so you cover the important details. You may need to improvise at times, but a tentative schedule will ensure that you don't forget your plans. Seek input from your clients to be sure that both parties agree.

6. Design your reception area with your guests in mind. Arrange for comfortable seating. Display relevant reading material.

7. Give front desk staff the resources and training to succeed. Maintain written protocols on how to greet guests. Keep everyone updated on daily schedules and business plans.

Hosting Office Visitors

1. Greet your guests immediately. People like to be acknowledged as soon as they walk in the door. A simple "good morning" with a smile works well. Welcome back repeat visitors by name to let them know they're valued. Ask newcomers if they would like to be shown around.

2. Advise them of any delays. If any delays arise, let your guests know in advance. They may want to rearrange their schedule or just appreciate knowing what to expect.

3. Have some small talk ready. Be prepared to chat before getting down to business. Listen to what your guests have to say so you can respond to their needs. They may want to settle in gradually or start working immediately.

4. Offer refreshments. Sharing food helps people to feel friendlier towards each other. You can put out a buffet in your conference room or go to a local restaurant for lunch. Even a simple glass of water or cup of coffee can be a welcome gesture.

5. Assist them with getting home or to their next destination. Reinforce the good impression you've made by seeing if your guests need anything when they're departing. If they're unfamiliar with the area, advise them about traffic or finding the best route to their next appointment.

6. Follow up. Maintain good will by sending an email or making a call to thank your guests for their time. Follow up on items that were discussed in the meeting.

Give your office visitors the royal treatment. Face to face meetings are a valuable opportunity to show your clients you care about them and their business needs. Go the extra mile to demonstrate your consideration and competence and you'll be rewarded many times over.

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