Virtual office environments have numerous benefits, but some clients or prospects are concerned about the idea of non-traditional business setups. You can overcome this objection by making the face of your business as professional as possible. In the December 2009 issue of HOW, I interviewed Shannon Carter, president of the Cartis Group, about his brick-and-mortar firm’s switch to a virtual setup.
Recently, I connected the dots between Carter and a reader with the above concern. Here’s the advice Carter dolled out:
- Have a physical address for your contact information–no PO boxes on your business collateral.
- Make sure your website is updated and has good contact information. (They will check.)
- Make sure your business e-mail address matches your website address—YourName@YourWebsite.com (no gmail or hotmail addresses).
- Have a dedicated business phone presence and ensure your phone system presents a professional image—do not use your cell or home phone and personal voicemail.
- Turn a potential negative into a positive. We tell our cliets: “Cartis Group is the antithesis of a high-priced agency that needs to support an outdated infrastructure. We are not bound by traditional office space nor outdated norms of business practices.”
- Make sure you have professional, on-demand meeting space for large meetings or prospects who want to come to you. There are several companies that rent this type of space by the hour, day or month.
- If you have a home office, make it as professional as possible—a separate outside entrance if possible.
- Lastly, remember what business you’re in, and it’s probably not selling prospects on the benefits of virtual office environments. If they can’t get past the idea of you not having traditional office space, then they are not a good fit. Move on.
Catch Design TV’s exclusive interview with Shannon Carter, Branding 101.