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Setting the table, part 2

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Last month, I addressed the things that my staff and I want our new client prospects to experience from us before they arrive at our office for their first meeting. This month, I want to focus on what we want them to see, hear and experience when they arrive.

My staff and I are sticklers for detail. We are constantly looking for ways to improve, and we have systems and established procedures for everything. “Treat people the way you’d want to be treated” has long been an axiom of any well-run businesses, but few advisors take the time to implement this in a premeditated, organized, systematic way. They have their habits, good and less so, and figure that prospects will either like them or not, blissfully unaware of the poor impression they’ve left in the minds of people who will never become clients — and never tell them why.

Your home office is an extension of your core beliefs.

When our prospects enter our office suite for the first time, they see order—warm, tasteful, inviting décor, thriving houseplants, and busyness without disorder. They are warmly greeted, not by our newest employee or a receptionist, but by an experienced, tenured staff person, often the same person who confirmed their appointment the day before. A second welcome often follows, this time from our office manager who makes it a point to come out of her nearby office to join the conversation. Their coats are taken and hung on hangers in a nearby closet, and they are offered refreshment from our office menu—coffees, teas, waters, juices, sodas, cookies, etc. They are asked if our directions were adequate, and if they had any difficulty finding us  They’re offered seating in our reception area, and the conversation continues. In short, they are welcomed into our office “home” by a staff family that serves their needs/cares, and answers their questions.

Create a positive impression

Since not all first-time arrivers are talkative, those who don’t want to be visited with are given their space. They have the option to read a local magazine while they wait, peruse a book of testimonials, or read the framed Mission Statement, Ethics Pledge, or other articles on the wall above their chairs. From there they can also see into our conference rooms, and to the shelves lined with over 25 books—books on a wide variety of topics, volumes they’re welcome to take home.

In summary, everything creates a positive impression, and they experience warmth, hospitality and unfailing courtesy at every turn. 

For more from Thomas Brueckner, see:

Setting the table, part 1

The road warrior handicap … and the home field advantage

Why specialization makes sense


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