Can you remember the last time you were blown over, completely startled with amazement, downright tickled by the greeting experience you had upon entering a business for the first time. It doesn’t matter if it was a really fancy restaurant or a hardware store. When a business takes the time to plan and anticipate ways to really impress you, you won’t forget it.
A few years ago, an orthodontist my son was seeing did this. The office made certain my son was having a knock-your-socks-off experience by having his name on the placard of a reserved parking spot for him and for us as parents. We had a Shock & Awe package that prepared us for the entire experience, from cradle to grave.
A first impression is just that, the experience you have the first time you encounter the business. There are no second chances for a FIRST impression. You must get it right the first time. This will pay off in a higher rate of conversions and, eventually, in a higher rate of referrals. Your happy clients will tell their friends, their coworkers and their family over and over again about the drop dead awesome greeting they received.
You may not have even thought of this, but the businesses that get it right are those that the first impression remains at the same level, time and time again, for each and every prospect. That means, no matter when someone comes, the process is as sharp as a tack and is not subject to whichever way the wind blows.
When you begin, you can tweak the experience as you move along. You do not have to know what is going to work best for you right off the bat. Nevertheless, having some framework of what will work in your firm is helpful. Here are some steps that will be an infrastructure of the micromanaged greeting experience. You can always add or change for what works best as you go.
- Take a subjective view from the perspective of your prospects coming to your office for the first time. Make their entrance as welcoming, attractive and immediately recognized as possible.
- Offer hospitality such as water, soft drinks or coffee to make them feel immediately at home.
- Most prospects will have their intake forms with them that you have already mailed to them to be prepared. Offer them the paperwork (don’t ask them for theirs—they’ll tell you they have it if they do. If they don’t, they won’t feel like they failed).
- Make the entry area warm, homey and friendly. Warm them up with some small talk.
- Collect their paperwork and transfer it to the office of whomever they will be meeting with.
- When you are ready for them, have the seating staff lead them to the room for the consultation.
- Be sure to remove any clocks from that room.
- Warmly ask the clients to tell their story and help them wrap it up in five minutes and make notes of any possible objections you think of as they speak.
- Offer the prospects a sheet with the options suited to that prospect with their fees.
- Make the options from minimum to comprehensive, ask them the $1,000 questions that decide their preferred package. Give their total for the preferred package and then show them the other levels too. They will pick this or that, no option is given for NO CHOICE.
- Ask for their credit card and driver’s license to complete their order.
- Wrap up the deal and share their next steps.
When you arrange the experience, each prospect has to be duplicated easily from prospect to prospect. Your quality control is trainable from staff member to staff member. There are fewer awkward moments because no matter where the prospect’s thinking is throughout, you are going to do the same thing. If they are objectionable, you are going to go through the process. If they are ready to sign in five minutes, you are going to go through the process. If they are emotional, you are going to go through the process. Each person gets exactly the same treatment which makes your job simple and your conversion rate higher.
Take the time to anticipate what your prospects will experience and nail it down to a trainable, able-to-duplicate process and watch your prospects hire you and your firm over and over.