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Clients Don't Like Bad Breath

Clients Don't Like Bad Breath "So, I had to tell my receptionist that she has bad breath. I told her, 'clients can smell it'. And, she didn't like hearing that...", said one of my coaching clients this week. Having to tell one of your team members that their breath or body odor is offensive will be one of the hardest things you will ever have to face in your office. The thing is, offensive odor, wrinkled clothing, outdated hair styles, all work towards undermining the image of your company when you come in contact with clients.

For example, have you ever smelled offensive breath or body odor and just wanted to run away? Sometimes, that extra garlic gets the best of us right before we have our next client appointment. The thing is, sometimes we aren't even conscious that there is an odor problem. However, the prospect knows full well where the smell is coming from.

Interesting enough, out of all the cultures around the world, Americans want to consistently be free from offensive odors. We want our breath, body, car, living room, closets, and carpeting all to have that fresh smell. Americans will shower several times a day, carry around boxes of mints, and even carry a purse size bottle of cologne/perfume. Now, when I talk with other cultures, they don't have the same odor hangup as Americans do. And, realistically no one can walk around odor free.

Yet sometimes it's essential to take action and point out that there is an odor problem, not only for the comfort of you and other clients but for the team member's future as well. Hygiene problems can block further progress with clients. Always begin with the assumption that your employee isn't aware of the problem. Start off by subtly suggesting the same hygiene items you use to avoid similar odor problems. If they take the hint, let the matter drop. If you think your not understood, you'll have to press further while still being diplomatic.

Remember, the key here is to start off subtly, then shift to sincere concern if necessary. Follow these three steps to handle bad breath around the office.

1. First of all, go to your local wholesale store and buy enough mints for you and the entire office.

2. Put the box of mints out immediately after lunch, so that you have an excuse for your strategy. If you need to be more direct, then take the employee to the side to minimize embarassment.

3. There's no need to be apologetic because you're doing YOUR future clients, and your employee a favor. You are the leader here.

Now, since most client meetings are done in close quarters, you and the employee are really in this together. If the situation were reversed, you would want someone to tell you that the double onion cheeseburger lunch can be smelled by all.

About the Author:

Kim Schott, your Global Client Communication Expert, is the author of the Keys to Client Communication System, the step-by-step, paint by numbers client communication program to attract more clients in less time. To receive your weekly how-to articles on consistantly attracting more local and global clients in less time, visit www.SchottCulturalConsulting.com

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