How to make a great “first impression”

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by Tom Watson on January 29, 2012

Having success in the cleaning business is not terribly hard to do. After all, it’s a pretty straightforward business to operate.

But if I had to pick one thing that’s kind of important to your overall success, it would be making a great first impression.

This is because if you make a poor first impression, you will need to work TWICE as hard to win the customer over and get them to choose you. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t like working twice as hard as I need to.

Even though greeting your customer seems so basic, many people fail at this simple task. Leaving the potential customer feeling ignored and poorly treated isn’t going to get you anywhere fast, so it’s best to get it right.

A good greeting not only starts things off on the right foot, it can also build a strong foundation for the future so you’ll want to focus on it. The good news in all of this is two-fold. Your rival cleaning company competitors probably know nothing about these little details, which gives you an immediate edge.

Secondly, this process is easy to implement with a little practice. Remember…you only have about 5 seconds to create a good impression with your potential customer, so make it a good one by following this advice.

Six steps to a Great Greeting

1. Do an Attitude check. If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, make sure you get over it before you greet a present or potential customer. If you are in a bad mood they will pick up on it right away, and PLEASE don’t say my day isn’t going well. THEY DON’T CARE.

2. Make the greeting warm and sincere. Customers have a “sincerity radar”. They can tell if you are “faking it.” One of the best ways to ensure that your greeting is warm and sincere is by expressing your gratitude.

The more that you can feel appreciative that this person has decided to do business with you, the better you will treat them.

3. Acknowledge them. If you should see your customer out at a restaurant or when you are out shopping, be sure to acknowledge them somehow. At the very least give them a head nod or a wave. Even if they are talking to someone else, don’t ignore them.

4. Handshakes are optional. Some people do not do handshakes, so it may be prudent to wait for them to extend their hand to you. With so many diverse cultures in our society just a nod and a warm greeting may do.

5. Understand your customer. Begin your relationship with the true goal of finding out their wants and needs. Then try to make sure that you fulfill them. Working with this goal foremost in your mind will help define every action you take.

6. Avoid asking them “What can I do for you?” Instead consider this sequence of actions. First ask them how they are doing today. Secondly, thank them for calling you (they could have called ANYONE). After that simple greeting you can go into what are they looking for in detail.

Conversation starters like these can often help you build rapport as you start to engage with intelligent questions that will uncover exactly what type of service they are looking for. At the end of the day your goal is to take a simple greeting and turn it into the beginning of a potentially long and profitable relationship with your customer. ◊

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