There is a definite link between Service and Sales, and when you roll out the red carpet for your prospects, you can stand out from the competition and shorten your sales cycle. So many of our customers give tours to their prospective customers including those in senior living, schools, country clubs, hotels, fitness clubs, and others. You can bet that your prospects are visiting your competition as well. However, you can close that business faster when you provide a red carpet experience that is both authentic and full of WOW moments.
Here are a few ideas:
- Do your Research: If you have the luxury of setting the appointment ahead of time, get to know the people who are coming in for a tour. Spend time on the phone and learn a little bit about their reasons for wanting to learn more about you. Ask a few questions related to hobbies and favorites as well. What’s their favorite snack? Their favorite color? What are their hobbies? Ideas about how to use that information are in a tip below. Are most of your tours Walk-Ins? Then spend the first half of the tour getting to know THEM! Refrain from doing a features dump all over your potential customer, and learn more about them first.
- Prepare your Prospect: What do they need to make their experience at your location even better? Clear, written directions, perhaps? Is there a video they should watch in advance? What is the name of the person they should ask for when they arrive?
- Prepare your Team: The more your team members know about your visitors, the more welcome they can make them feel. Make sure your front desk receptionist knows their names and times of arrival. Encourage him or her to stand up and shake their hands when they arrive. If they can call them by name, even better. Your guests will not only feel welcome, but they will also feel expected. Let the rest of the team know that you’ll be touring a guest. Give them their names as well and encourage them to say hello. Better yet, train your team to provide that red carpet first impression! While it may be awkward to give your walk-in prospects a rose or a pin to wear, YOU can wear one so it signals your team to roll out the red carpet for your guests.
- Plan your Tour: Create an experience that speaks to each individual guest! Just say no to cookie-cutter tours. Spend the time to get to know what THEY Care about and then plan an experience that speaks to them.
- Feed your Guests: Start by offering coffee, water, and delicious snacks when they arrive. Think ahead. How easy will it be for them to walk with what you offer? Do you have napkins, etc? Pay attention to details. Depending on availability, offer them lunch. Prepare the dining team in advance so they can make your visitors feel extremely welcome. Have their name on the table or, better yet, the menu. Have the host greet them by name. Invite the chef to greet them at the table, and of course, offer their favorite dessert.
- WOW your Visitors: Remember all that research you did. Use it to add the WOW Factor to your tour! Surprise and delight them with personalized gifts and treats! Have their favorite magazines available to flip through while they wait in the lobby. Send them off with something for their children or their pets, or related to their hobby. Didn’t know they were coming? That’s what a secret stash of swag is for. You can read more about that in this blog post entitled: Creating Customer Delight: 5 Ways to Add the WOW-Factor!
- Extend Your Invitation: Remember to invite your guests back for a special experience. Maybe it’s an event you’re holding or a dinner with one of your leadership team. The more tailored your invite is to the specific person, the more compelling your invite will be. (Personalization is a theme – are you catching that?)
- Remember Your Wrap-Around: Follow up with your guests in a unique way. Forget what your competition does, do something different and unexpected! Maybe it’s a personalized card with a photo from their visit. Maybe it’s a fun photo of your team members or people they met while they were there. Or, simply follow up with a set of tips they can use based on what you know their questions are. The point is, keep that red carpet out even after they’ve left the building.
When you do just a little bit more than your competition and you’re both authentic and delightfully surprising, you’ll find it’s much easier to turn those prospects into customers.
What are one or two things you can do to take the experience you create for guests up to the red carpet level? Comment below and let us know what’s working for you or what you plan to do.
Donna Cutting, CSP is the Founder & CEO of Red-Carpet Learning Systems, Inc. and the author of 2 books on Red Carpet Customer Service. To learn more about how we can help you turn prospects into customers and customers into raving fans, email us at STARS@RedCarpetLearning.com or visit the Red-Carpet Learning website.