How to Sabotage Your Moving and Relocation Business in a Split Second

Own it. Live it. That’s the mantra of business owners everywhere. The majority of small-business owners work more than 50 hours each week, according to a Gallup survey. Enterprise-level entrepreneurs work just as hard.

After pouring so much time and energy into the success of your moving business, it seems oddly out of proportion that all your efforts can be undone in a split second. But research shows that’s all it takes to sabotage a consumer’s first impression. Once formed, initial impressions based on limited information are hard to change. Why? It’s human nature to ask questions that confirm a snap judgment rather than contradict it.

Whether committed knowingly or not, certain behaviors reflect poorly on you and your business. Use this reverse how-to guide to make a killer first impression in mere seconds and win customers over online and in person.

A Not-So-Nice Virtual Introduction

We live and work in a digital world where instant gratification is the norm. Most people research a business online before ever calling it or meeting the owner in person: 86 percent of consumers read reviews for local businesses according to a BrightLocal survey. Even if you have a few negative reviews, it can instill consumer confidence if you’ve responded to the complaint and remedied the situation. But a poor online presence quickly translates to a poor first impression.

Keep Customers Waiting

Page speed refers to how quickly the content on an individual webpage loads. “Two seconds is the threshold for e-commerce website acceptability,” says Google’s Maile Ohye. “At Google, we aim for under a half second.”

Customers lose patience when webpages are slow to load, making the bounce rates higher. Slow page speed decreases your site’s overall speed, which is a Google ranking factor for both mobile and desktop searches. And the farther down your website appears on results pages, the worse the initial impression.

Quick Fix: There are some simple things you can do to make your page speed faster. Talk to a web designer about optimizing images for digital display, reducing redirects, enabling compression, and using browser caching to make the user experience love at first byte (pun intended).

Outdated Online Profiles

The online aggregation of information on any business has grown tremendously over the past few years. As a Better Business Bureau® Accredited Business, you already know how important credibility is, and Search Engine Watch reports 73 percent of customers immediately lose trust in a company when its online listings show incorrect information.

Quick Fix: Make the most trusted online business directories—including Google My Business and—your top priority as you regularly review and update your company’s information, but don’t ignore other sites. If your company is already a BBB Accredited Business, click here to update your BBB Profile or contact your BBB representative for assistance.

Whenever possible, upload compelling images of your products, services, employees, and/or physical location to connect with online users. The internet is a visual medium, and people don’t just want to read about a company; they want to see it in action.

Spell Things Wrong

It doesn’t matter if you are the best at what you do; when your website, social media posts, email correspondence, or other marketing materials contain misspelled words or grammatical errors, it instantly degrades your company’s credibility and causes potential customers to question your abilities.

Using a word processor with spell check is a good place to start, but isn’t always foolproof. Simple software may not flag words—especially homonyms like ‘compliment’ and ‘complement’—which are spelled correctly but used in the wrong context.

Quick Fix: Download a more robust app like Grammarly for free to check for mistakes anywhere you write on the web: Gmail, WordPress, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

It’s also a good idea to proofread all content before posting it online or sending it to clients. Even if your website has been up for a while, have someone else read over it carefully again to make sure the headlines, subheads, body content, and pop-ups are relevant, read naturally, and are error free.

Send Unprofessional Emails

The use of smartphones has simplified our lives in so many ways, allowing business owners to quickly navigate to an off-site meeting or appointment and respond to emails while on the go. But responding too quickly can actually harm your business rather than help it.

It’s all too easy to spell a contact’s name wrong, include a nonsensical autocorrected phrase, or forget to include important information when hastily replying to an email via a mobile device. This could lead to a series of rapid-fire emails intended to correct the mistakes and save face, that actually makes you look worse.

Sending emails from your mobile device with an unbranded signature line like “Sent from my iPhone” also looks unprofessional. Similarly, generic emails sent from a laptop, desktop, or website don’t leave a lasting impression.

You might think that changing the font to a different color or a whimsical style will make your email more memorable. This too, however, can make your business look amateurish or unprofessional.

Quick Fix: Respond to emails from your phone only when you can give them your full attention rather than when you’re in a hurry, multi-tasking, or half asleep. Take the time to proofread before hitting send.

Stick to default fonts like Arial, Helvetica, or Times New Roman—NOT Comic Sans or anything that looks like handwriting. 

Customize the signature line on your mobile device to include your name, company name, phone number, license number (if applicable), and any awards or professional designations that inspire trust and showcase your expertise.

Brand your moving business further by including your company logo and the BBB Accredited Business Dynamic Seal® on desktop or browser email signatures.

Face-to-Face Faux Pas

All the technological tools we have at our disposal are amazing. But they don’t replace personal interactions. Business is about building relationships, and relationships are born through face-to-face communication. And since 93 percent of communication effectiveness is ascertained through nonverbal cues, having in-person interactions are more important than ever.

Unattractive Atmospherics

The controllable characteristics of your business—from its exterior signage to the interior temperature—speak volumes about your pride and professionalism. A dirty vehicle, trash on the sidewalk, an unplowed parking lot, cobwebs in the windows, an inappropriate sticker on a laptop, burned out lights, and any other number of atmospheric elements can sabotage your professional perception. A surveyconducted by the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association found 95 percent of shoppers are influenced by the cleanliness of a store. Atmospherics directly impact purchasing decisions, whether you’re a property manager, a grocer, or a personal trainer.

Quick Fix: Take a look at your business from the eyes of your target market and alter its atmospherics accordingly to persuade potential customers to do business with you.

If you primarily deal with people during off-site visits, brand your company vehicle(s) with your company logo and the BBB Accredited Business Seal®. Keep the vehicle(s) washed, polished, and in good repair at all times. Get creative in how you display credentials that would otherwise be showcased in an office, displaying them on business cards, a laptop sticker, phone case, etc.

If you have a physical office or storefront, your business should be easily identifiable through its signage and appear spotless from the curb. Once inside, the layout should function comfortably and conveniently. Temperature, scents, and ambient music can be used to entice potential customers. If you’re targeting teenagers in a video game store, contrasting lighting and loud music may be the way to go, but if you’re targeting baby boomers in need of financial planning, subtle lighting and soothing music will be more enticing.

Dress Inappropriately

Would you trust a lawyer wearing dirty clothes? Or a plumber wearing sky-high stilettos? Probably not. Different professions dictate different clothing. If you and/or your employees are not dressed for the task at hand, people are likely to form the wrong opinion about your expertise.

Quick Fix: Use a dress code to create a cohesive company brand and include specific examples rather than vagaries or subjective phrases. The term “business casual” means different things to different people. Outline when employees should dress up and when to wear clothing with your company logo. If you use uniforms, be sure to provide options for different body types and choose styles that are both fashionable and functional.

Talk Too Much or Sound Rehearsed

It’s important to have an agenda and some talking points when speaking with potential customers for the first time. Stumbling over your words and using “um,” “like,” and other fillers is a deterrent; you need to project confidence in yourself and what your business has to offer. But talking about yourself nonstop or using a canned sales pitch can also have a negative effect.

Quick Fix: Make the person you are talking to feel like the most important person in the meeting or appointment. Your body language, facial expressions, and dialogue should all reflect a genuine interest in their wants and needs. Give them your full attention (put your phone away!) and listen carefully so you can respond accordinglyand create confidence in your company.

Make Every Second Count

The clock is ticking. Every second counts when it comes to making an impression that’s memorable for the RIGHT reasons. Don’t self-sabotage your company. Use the best practices in this article to instantly impress customers and earn their trust.