Maintaining Proper Etiquette when You Visit Someone Else's Business

In the course of doing business, you'll likely have to visit other offices, warehouses, or showrooms in an official capacity. Whether you're buying parts, negotiating an advertising deal, or trying to sell your wares, how you present and handle yourself on someone else's business turf reflects on your entire company.

Visiting someone else’s business is generally not a complicated affair, and it has fairly simple rules. Nonetheless, tales of churlish behavior by business owners visiting another business have inspired these tips:

  • Make an appointment. If you choose not to make an appointment, leave quietly and cheerfully when the business owner doesn’t have time to see you. When setting the appointment, specify how long you would ideally like the meeting to last.

  • Look up your destination on a map before departing. Internet maps and auto GPS systems have greatly reduced the risk of getting lost.

    Better yet, call the business and talk to an expert — someone who drives to work there every day. That person can also tell you where to park, which entrance to use, and so on.

  • Don’t bring any food or drink with you to someone else’s business. Unless, of course, you’ve been asked to provide food for the meeting. No one wants to watch you eat or dispose of your lukewarm latte after you leave.

  • Be polite to everyone at the office. If the business has a reception desk, state your name, whom you’re visiting, and the scheduled time of your appointment. If the receptionist is on the phone, be quiet and wait your turn.

  • Don’t touch things in someone’s office without asking. Really, even if they look like toys.

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