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Life Health > Running Your Business

Setting the table, part 1

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Have you ever given thought to how you want your prospective new clients to experience your firm before they walk into your office for the first time? 

If we only have one opportunity to make a great first impression personally, do we have more opportunities than that to make a great first impression corporately? It’s doubtful. And prospects often base their desire to do business with you on how they experienced your brand before setting foot in your office. This impression is created by a million little things, details you would be wise to address — from your letterhead, seminar invitations, radio show, blog posts, written articles in local publications, and especially your website — to the unfailing courtesy with which you and your staff interact with the public at large. All of these things say something about you, and about your corporate culture and brand.

As with most other advisors, our clients come to us from a variety of different initial sources. The majority are most often introduced to us by an existing client, say a couple who has been with us for several years and are delighted with their experience. Word-of-mouth still reigns, especially among retirees. 

Beyond this, prospects often hear about us through our community-based activities and sponsorships. In my own firm, clients here about us through my weekly radio show, local billboards, our TV commercials, or other inbound marketing campaigns. Based purely on these sources, many will call to set a first appointment. When appropriate, we also extend them an invitation to our next educational seminar, usually no more than 10 to 20 days hence. We explain that “this is a great way to get to know us as a firm, hear Thom speak, and gain a sense of what we do and how we do it.” Most are delighted to have the additional learning opportunity. 

Here’s our goal:

Before a new prospect ever walks into our corporate office for the first time, they experience 10 or more “touches” by us. These touches are interactions that enable us to demonstrate excellence at every turn. These include our detailed full-color, fold-out seminar invitation, their call to our reservations center, the courtesy confirmation call they receive from my staff the day before the seminar, their interaction with staff at the registration table, the current-events-based multimedia seminar presentation itself, the Q&A conversation afterward, the appointment-setting opportunity and interaction that follows, the colorful educational handouts we provide them before they leave, the confirmation letter we send five to seven days prior to their scheduled appointment, and the courtesy reminder call we make one day before their first meeting with us. 

For more from Thomas K. Brueckner, see:

The road warrior handicap … and the home field advantage

Why specialization makes sense

Branding your practice


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