Closing the Deal on the Go: Snooping around an Office

The recent popular psychology book Snoop by Sam Gosling, a professor at the University of Texas, describes how you can learn a lot about a person from such seemingly meaningless things as they way a person dresses, the manner in which they decorate their office, and their taste in music. In fact, the author holds that from these things it is possible to begin to create a mini psychological profile on a person.

I found this fascinating, perhaps partially because some years ago I wrote about how you can gleam information from a reception room to prequalify your prospects and plan your sales approach. And, although my information was not based on mountains of formal research data like Gosling’s, I still feel there’s something to it. Here are some examples:

Lean and Mean:

Style: Small, pared down, dowdy

Conclusion: The buyers have a fixation on the bottom line and put a heavy emphasis on R&D

Glitzy and Glamorous:

Style: Designer labels

Conclusion: The company is either a success or wants people to think it is. Expect a concern for packaging and an interest in products that will enhance the corporate image. However, if the reception area is the only part of the office that can be described by glitz and glam, the prospect may be more show than substance.

Corporate and Formal:

Style: Wood paneling and understated elegance. The receptionist likely sits behind an antique table. There may be original art on the walls.

Conclusions: Expect to have to justify everything. Make sure your documentation is in order and your figures add up. Expect them to place a heavy emphasis on quality.

Civic Minded and Concerned:

Style: The walls are covered with citations and photos of group outings and charity events.

Conclusion: Try to tie your product or service to their civic consciousness. If your company has something in common with theirs, let them know.

And What About Hard Data?

Beyond the qualitative information you gather from looking around the office, also look for annual reports, brochures, a visitor’s log, awards, framed advertisements, etc. All can be good sources of information, as well as conversation pieces, especially when speaking to the receptionist, yet another source of information.

This post is based on material originally published in Closing the Deal.

For more information on Closing the Deal, check it out on Amazon.

(Burghgraef, Richard. Closing the Deal: Hot Sales Strategies that Make Money. Encouragement Press. Illinois: Chicago. 2007)

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