Last weekend, we were craving whole grain pancakes that are offered at several national restaurant chains in our area. When we entered restaurant #1, there was no one at the hostess table or the cash register. I understand that this was a Sunday morning and that it is one of the busiest times for breakfast.
While we were patiently waiting with others who had come in after us, a woman hurriedly rang someone up on the register and ran off to somewhere else in the restaurant. There was no "Welcome to our restaurant, we will be with you shortly," greetings or any other type of recognition. When we finally were able to get our name on the list she said, "There is a 15 minute wait." I understand that people need to wait in line at restaurants, but the absence of a greeting turned us off and we left for their competition.
When we entered the Village Inn restaurant, they were just as busy, but the manager greeted us warmly and informed us that it would be just a few minutes before we could get a table. The server we had was excellent and tended to our every need. The manager also popped by our table just to make sure everything was to our liking. We were thrilled with the experience and will gladly go back again soon.
What does this have to do with your business?
1. A smile and a warm greeting is one of the easiest and cheapest openers to any relationship. Keep in mind that you pay a lot of money to get people to come into your place of business, or for your phone to ring. Invest the proper amount of time with the "Director of First Impressions" so that the foundation is set for a good experience. If after the proper training they still turn people off, start working on a separation process.
2. Listen and fill the needs of your clients. I often hear people say things like, "He is a great talker, he could sell anything!" Actually, show me someone who is a great listener and I will show you someone who will be far better in sales than someone trying to work a "canned" pitch.
3. Ask people to buy. I don't know why this is so hard for some people. Zig Ziglar refers to salespeople who don't ask for the sale as "Professional Visitors." Even though we were stuffed from our breakfast described above, our server still offered to send us home with a pie. The worst thing that people can do is tell you "No" they can't shoot you and eat you.