First Impressions-Why You Should Care

We’ve all heard the expression: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Let’s take a look at what your prospects experience when they first make contact with your business.

When marketing, there are 3 ways a prospect can contact you: call you on the phone, travel to your location, or visit your website.

Have you ever called someone to inquire about a product or service and received a “less than enthusiastic” greeting? How did that make you feel? Worse yet, were you abandoned on hold? The most out-going, personable Team member in your organization should be answering the telephone. He/she should use the same initial greeting (scripted) and ask permission to place the caller on hold.

If you have a retail location or office, how does the facility look from the street? Is the building bright and clean? The parking lot—is it free of debris, the parking lines clearly striped and potholes patched? What about lighting, signage, and landscaping? Regular maintenance assures a consistent image. Once your guests are inside, pay particular attention to layout and appearance. In the food industry, 85% of the customer’s perception of cleanliness is the condition of the floor. What message is yours sending? Another area which leaves quite an impression is the restroom. Many of us have been “turned off” by filthy restrooms. Make sure yours are clean and properly stocked with soap, towels, etc. One more thing: How does the Team present itself? Are they similarly dressed (with logo apparel if appropriate)? What about name tags?

Here’s a tip—if you were suddenly informed that a TV film crew was on its way to interview you and feature your business, what would you change before they arrived?

When a prospect visits your website, how quickly does the page load? If it takes more than 10-15 seconds, many will not stick around to wait. Is the landing page easy to navigate and are the tabs clearly marked? Can a prospect find what he/she needs quickly without having to scroll down? When they fill out the “contact us” form, where does that inquiry go and who is responsible to respond? Make sure you have a process for timely response and appropriate responsibility assigned.

One last thing—if you have company vehicles, remember that they, too, convey an impression. Make sure they are clean, well-maintained, and most importantly, that the driver is well-mannered! Bad driving habits, cutting other drivers off, etc, will sabotage your good faith efforts.

All things being equal, people do business with those they know, like, and trust. Make sure your prospects like the first impression you make!