Welcomes and First Impressions
Welcomes and First Impressions
They say “Don’t judge a book by its cover” but in the sales business, the cover is everything. When you introduce yourself to someone for the first time, especially in a professional atmosphere, those first impressions are typically made during the first 3-5 seconds of the meeting. Within that small timeframe, you could potentially lose a sale or gain one. Trust and communication are the glue to every relationship. Nailing down the right presentation style early on can make all the difference!
Working well with people is a special talent that is often underappreciated. It takes a lot of skill to be able to gauge a customer’s thought process, wants, and needs, without seeming overbearing. Your opening lines must engage the customer without dominating the conversation. Never do their thinking for them. Writing a solid script and practicing it regularly can be a great way to find a good level of comfort before a real scenario with a customer. For example, you could say something in the script like “Welcome! On behalf of __________________ homes in ________________ community. Thanks for stopping by” and then go from there. Be sure to prepare for potential variables as well. The more you work at it, the more comfortable you will feel adjusting your script according to each customer’s needs.
Though the introduction is a key attention grabber in the first meeting, be sure that you have planned beyond the initial greetings. You will want to have a good starting position and a planned route in place when you demonstrate your model home. Your presentation should be seamless and effortless in the transitions from room to room, from question to question. If you appear knowledgeable and prepared, the trust building can begin.
The moment you see the car pull up and people approaching your model, it’s time to put your best foot forward. Allow the customer to come in. Say “welcome” in an inviting way. Imagine this was your home, and you are inviting your best friend for a visit. Think about how you’d conduct yourself in that setting. You open the door and greet them warmly. Interactions in business should be the same. Greet the customer with the same enthusiasm as you would a guest in your own home.
Once they have entered, pause for a moment. Don’t crowd them as they enter. Stand back so that you don’t appear too forceful or aggressive. If you are in a sales gallery, allow them to take in the surroundings, the graphics on the walls and the tools that have been strategically placed to sell your community and your homes. If you are greeting them inside a model home, allow them to take a breath, look around, and get some initial impressions. Remember, this is their future, their big decision.
Throughout the meeting, body language will play an essential role. If you equate language to text on a page, the body language is the subtext. Think about how you want to be perceived. Is your body language open? Receptive? Or are you closed off and distant? Are you smiling? Does that smile seem warm and engaging? You should carry and present yourself like you are doing what you love to do professionally.
Voice is also a major component of your presentation. Some people are born with the perfect radio voice, soothing and warm but also clear and able to project, which is a great advantage as a salesperson. If you have a voice that is naturally soft or shrill, you’ll need to work on it. In these times it is quite evident based on the number of audiobooks and podcasts downloaded per day, that people are drawn to a pleasant voice. You want to converse casually but not too casually. You want to project, but don’t over-do it. Find a balance that works best for you. Perhaps try practicing with a co-worker, trusted friend or family member.
The handshake is another important part of the introduction process. When you go to shake your customer’s hand, try and match their energy. If they have a firm handshake, give them a firm handshake back. If they have a limp handshake, soften yours up a bit. A handshake says a lot about a person, whether they are eager and motivated, or perhaps shy and reluctant. By matching their energy, you can relate to them while also guiding them in the right direction. Make eye contact with the person as they are speaking. When you are in a conversation with someone who isn’t looking at you, it often feels like they are uninterested or preoccupied. Always be attentive.
Are you dressed to impress? Do you look the part? When it comes to appearance, people are naturally drawn to someone who looks sharp and sophisticated, especially in sales. What you might wear to a bar on Friday night with your friends is typically not acceptable attire for greeting a customer. Your goal is to look clean and well-manicured, and appropriate for business.
Smell is just as important as how we look. Make sure you have breath mints on hand to ensure fresh breath. Use cologne and perfume sparingly. Don’t go overboard with fragrances, and it can be extremely distracting and overpowering to a customer on their first meeting. The last thing you want is for a customer to leave remembering how intense the scent of your perfume was, instead of the conversation. If you are concerned about it, ask a trusted co-worker or partner for their honest feedback. It’s better to hear a complaint from a coworker than a home buyer.
Smell good. Look good. Feel good. If you check all three boxes in the morning before walking out the door, you’re likelihood of having a returning customer will increase exponentially. People come back to work with people who are well put together, from appearance to eye contact to tone of voice. Help your customer by being professional and trustworthy from the moment you meet through closing on the sale. The effort you put in on your first meeting will set the stage for a wonderful working relationship. Turn those first 3-5 seconds of initial impression into something promising and meaningful.