Good day! Good day, and welcome to The Business Made Easy Podcast where we make business easy.
Jason Skinner, your host here for another week of the podcast that is all about growing your business bottom-line and having a better life as a result. So glad you’re here with me.
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Alright. I hope everyone’s week has been going well. I’ve just realized that we’re at the end of November and is literally not that many weeks left of the year which is quite frightening because I know how much I’ve got to get done before the end of the year because I do want to kick off 2019 with a flying start.
We’re gonna be covering a lot of those things in the lead up to Christmas, how basically planning around getting your year 2019 to be your best year yet. Because that’s what I want for you and I want it for me too, so that’s what we’ve got to do.
Alright, today’s episode we are going to be talking about a very, very important role in your business that a lot of people underestimate. they really do and it’s the role of your director of first impressions. Now, for some of you that may be a new term or foreign term that you haven’t heard before, I’m going to explain what it is, But I’m also going to explain why the role I think it is actually the director of first impressions. That’s the first impression that your customers get. But I wanna build on that thought a little bit first, so that’s in the traditional sense and there’s always been the-been the way in terms of a traditional business but the world’s moved on as we know and there’s a greater, a lot more online business. I believe now the director of first impressions role also covers your website and your web presence and the-the director of first impressions in that, that instance is really your actual website, where-where your customers land– potential customers land and the experience that they have on that website. It’s the very first interaction they have with you, so we kind of have these different models if you like. We’ve got the one where there’s a human element to it, being the actual receptionist or the phone answerer and we also then have the more technological website which is internet based as you know which is up there in the cloud, so. But people are finding you, the people are searching on Google, they’re landing on your– the impression that you give them in that first instance that it says a lot about your business and the experience that they’re going to have with your business. So when I would talk about director of first impressions, I want you to think of your website and also I want you to think of your person that-that is meeting and greeting your customers. And in my business it happens to be my wife, Melissa which I’m really happy about. So uh she does a fantastic job and so I know the level of work and quality of performance that she gives, to that role. And this is what I want you to sort of have a look at, at this episode, I want you to go away and sort of be able to look at and assess how your director of first impressions is actually performing and is it having any impact on your business because this is the thing. And I’ve seen businesses like this before where you’ll get a lot of inquiry, a lot of phone calls and-and a lot of you know people making contact or wanting, inquiring about your products and services and things, but then you might find that you’re not converting them into either quotes or into um into actual sales. So that area of your business, that front end of your business could be that your director of first impressions is not leading an actual good impression. It might be that they’re going, “Oh jeez,” um I’ve had a negative-I’ve had a negative experience when I first rung that business or first made contact with that business.” So I want you to think about this, what are your customers experiencing when they ring. How does your person answer the phone? What sort of tone do they use? What sort of um language are they using? Are they engaged in the conversation, have they just been on Facebook for instance? And they just been marking on the Facebook and now the phone’s ringing, “Hello, you know it’s Judy,” or before she’s picked up the phone, put herself into a smiling position, put a smile on her face and answered the phone with a smile because that actually comes through on the phone when you’re actually answer the telephone. If the person’s got a smile on their face when they’re answering the phone, that will come through in the tone on the uh on the phone, to that person. So you picture, and you think of situations where you’ve rung up uh a business and made inquiry or whatever and you’ve been greeted with a not so friendly or not so attentive or engaged um phone answering person. It doesn’t leave you with a great feeling initially about that business and the experience that you’re gonna have with that business, you might gonna, oh jeez I’m actually regretting ringing this number now and I’ve had that too, before you just go, “Oh my God, I’ve picked the wrong listing on Google that to go to.” So your website needs to look good, it needs to be professionally presented and everything like that, but then your director of first impressions needs to follow that up with the right phone answering technique. So Iyou’ll hear how she’s sounding or that he is sounding on the phone. Just to actively listen it. We can get a bit busy in our business at times and forget to look at those things and uh they’re going off answering the phone. We’re thinking, oh yeah, there’s been no complaints but everything’s you know, so everything’s under control, then actual fact they could be damaging the amount of new business or return business that we’re getting into our business. So you need to be mindful of that. And if you’re in retail position, well then the shop assistants, the people on the floor serving your customers. They are the directors of first impressions, so they’re the ones that are meeting and greeting your customers. They need to be on the top of their game, you need to have a meeting with your people and discuss with them, you know, just what your standard is and do some role plays and those sorts of things. But we’ll get into that a little bit later. So, as I mentioned there though. One of the-the ways that you can measure, you can look, look at the performance on this too is by looking at your conversion of initial inquiries to actual quotes. So that’s a measurement that you could put in place, so how many phone calls do we get in a day. A lot of phone systems will actually tell you that these days, how many phone calls do we get in a day and then how many are converting or how many inquiries from customers are we getting and how any way converting into quotes, actual quotes that need to be, done. So, that’s where your director of first impressions plays a critical role in a bit there. And the reason why that the first impressions are important is that it’s a well known fact that a person only has seven seconds. When we meet someone brand new, we only have seven seconds which is not long to make an initial good first impression with that person. So that’s the very first point, we only have that seven seconds to actually seal the deal with that person. And this is how I’d like to think of this, and I’ve apologies, this is not my, this is not my, concept. I believe it came from Steven Covey out of the 7 Habits, and I’ve mentioned it before in previous episodes of the podcast with such a valid point when we’re dealing with people. I’d like to think of it is as we have this emotional bank account with each person that we come into contact or deal with in our lives, with all their wives, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, kids, it doesn’t matter who it is, every single person that we know in our life or have some contact within our life. We have an emotional bank account with. So think of it like you get a bank statement a for your husband or wife and it’s go on one side it’s got deposits that you’ve made into that account with them and on the other side it’s got withdrawals. When we do something good or before again the customers went, when we do something good with that person or for that person, let’s say I decide to make my wife dinner or she’s had a hard day and I do something nice for her or I’d enhance our relationship in some way. I’m making a deposit with herin our emotional bank account together. So I’m making a deposit within there and likewise if I do something not so good on the other side, where I called in a favor or, I mess up something or whatever it is, then I’m making withdrawal at that point. So the end result is I have a balance and I can either be in funds with my wife and her emotional bank account or I could be in over draft and owe money. So I’ve got to really do some hard work in fixing up my relationship with that person. And this is how I want you to think of your customers when they come into, your business. Sayin and exactly the same with the website, if they come to your website. That first point of contact that they have with you, have opened up a bank account with an emotional bank account with that person. And you can put deposits into it by doing good things and you can take withdrawals out by doing bad things. Now, if the very first impression is in that first seven seconds we don’t make a deposit really quickly, we don’t establish a rapport, a connection with that person in a friendly, open, helpful way that makes that person feel like they’ve definitely arrived in the right place. We’re not making a deposit to that emotional bank account, we’re actually making a withdrawal. We’re not, meeting that potential customer where we need to be meeting them in the emotionals and rapport slacks. Then the problem with that is, the next person that has to so we might get away with it. The director of first impressions might not have hit it off with the new customer too well but, they’re efficient enough and they say, “Look here. No worries, I’ll get Joe to give you a call back and we’ll get your problem answered.” And then they hang phone of if they leave, if I’ve been in your business or whatever, that they leave or whatever the circumstance is. But the next person said, “Joe,” when he comes in to deal with this person, he or she already on the back foot because they’ve got to make up the ground from the director of first impressions who, didn’t start the account of on the credit basis. Now, bit by bit if each person doesn’t do that along your business process, this is how you have just mediocre relationships or mediocre customers and all customer service. Because no one can ever recover, everyone’s always still band-aiding the last interaction that the person has had with your company. But imagine this scenario where someone rings up your business or someone goes to your website and they instantly go, “Wow!” I feel like I’m in the right place. It breaks down barriers, everyone’s got sort of this cautiousness about us when we go to, before we go and buy something for the first time at a business. We need to make sure that, when that happens that we’re breaking down those barriers and that person goes, ‘Wow!” They left feeling wow, that I’m in the right place, that person really paid me attention, listened and listened is the word there that often gets underused. Listened to my question, answered it efficiently with a smile and I could tell I was smiling or I could feel they were happy to be talking with me. And and I just feel I’ve run the right number and now Joe’s gonna come and help me and he’s gonna solve my problem as well and show me how to solve my problem. Well, I feel great.” As opposed to,”Oh well, I hope I don’t get that receptionist again or I hope I don’t get. I hope that person doesn’t answer the phone, phone again or jeez, I hope Joe’s better than the response I got from there.” And what happens if Joe fails to ring the person back at an appropriate time? Let’s say the director of first impressions has left the conversation with the person feeling that the call will be returned this morning, but in fact Joe doesn’t return the call till later in the afternoon? Then we’ve got a problem again because you made another debit to the emotional bank account. The person’s already starting to feel doubt as to whether or not they’re in the right place because another negative thing has happened. So you can see from this that the director of first impression role is critical, it’s without customers you don’t have a business. So if you’re not converting those prospects into customers, money’s not gonna end up in your bank account. So that role is really critical that you get that right. And, so that’s why I want you to think of it like this emotional bank account, is my director of first impressions making those connections? And are they speaking in a language that is going to do that? and this is the big one I find in businesses is the person will answer the phone efficiently and they’ll be very efficient, “Good morning X, Y, Z. This is Sally,” [whining] Like that type of thing, as opposed to just rattling off a standard, this is it. Because that’s how they’ve been taught to answer the phone. But this is the script, the phone-answering script, so they go about doing it like it is a script without any sort of feeling behind the conversation or behind the script and that’s a trap that you can run into as well, that sounds better. It’s been hard to as a tongue twister,. We may need to have a script so it is a consistent answering process but we also want to encourage our person that answering the phone or meeting with customers to actually do it with a personal feeling behind that. And that can be hard to articulate but it’s something you need to listen forward, ‘cause I have had businesses where the person’s met me at the counter or whatever and they’ve been so efficient that it was bad service because it was just, there was just no care behind it. It was just bang, bang, bang, process, process, process, there you go. Get out of here. As opposed to listening like I said smiling, like I said slowing things down a little bit, taking the time if it is a phone situation that we’re talking about, you’re ready to answer the phone as I mentioned earlier. There really should be a pause before the person answers the phone. So they stop what they’re doing on the computer or whatever it is, instead of just attacking the phone and picking it up. You know or as the next quick process, short pause, smile, then pick up the phone as you’re ready to take that call. You position yourself ready to take that phone-call. So it’s really important because that comes through in your voice and it comes through in the whole experience with that person on the phone. So that’s a phone situation, if it’s someone coming into your business, it’s the same deal again. If if if you hear the door open or you see the person approaching the door, you immediately get yourself positioned ready to uh ready to actually address and attend to that customer’s needs. And this is what I mean by setting that great first impression, because if you already yourself up ready to help that person before you’re actually engaging with that person, like I said with the phone, you get yourself ready. You’ve given yourself a head start on that seven seconds. You haven’t got a start doing all that within your seven seconds, it’s already done. You’ve already got it, you’ve had a preparation before the interaction. You got yourself ready, you’re in your best starting position before the firing then goes to start that seven seconds and start engaging. That’s another good way to think of it, I always think of it as off stage and on stage, when you’re taking a phone call, when you’re meeting with a customer’s you’re going onstage. An actor always prepares themselves to go onstage. They don’t just walk onto the stage, the curtains open and they start putting their costume on. They have their customer, their makeup, everything’s done before they go onstage, they’re ready to perform and that’s what your director of first impressions needs to be doing in your business as well. So it’s really, important role, it’s very important that that they are doing this in a way that is effective and it is welding customers to your business. It’s making it easier for the next person in your business, the next person in the process to do this. Now, you might be saying, “Well, I don’t have staff. This doesn’t apply to me I answer my own calls anyway. I’m just a, solo consultant or solopreneur,” whatever. Whatever business you’re in that, you don’t really have staff like that. Here’s the thing, it’s just as important for you. You are actually wearing the director of first impressions’ role, you are that person. So it’s even more important that you, are ready for this. So I’ve had businesses before where I’ve heard the owner answer the business and I nearly cringe it’s almost you’re interrupting their day because they’re busy, they’re busy doing the thing that they’re doing and it’s like you’ve interrupted them and you made– and all of a sudden you feel awkward, you feel like,”Oh jeez. I didn’t really wanna uh– sorry to disrupt your day or be an inconvenience in anyway.” So if you’re that person, I want you to have a think about how you’re currently answering your phone and can you get yourself in a better position, in a better mindset too and-and-and a body language to answer that call or greet that customer or-or whatever the situation is. And likewise with your website, how does it look at the moment? Is it-is it up to scratch, does it look like a welcoming website or is it just looking spammy and just like they’re outdated and like it’s uh not very welcoming at all? Things broken on it, not working properly, all those things that are up to-to setting that first impression. So I want you to think about that as well. And lastly, how-how you measure this and how-how you fix this situation if you are, if you find yourself after-after today’s episode sort of questioning it and find yourself in a situation where um you know, it could be better or you could be doing things better. Um particularly if you’ve got staff, then um the website’s pretty easy to do. I mean you can fix that up, you can just get that fixed up, that’s-that’s not a problem. When you’re dealing with humans and stuff though that can be a little bit-a little bit more tricky because you can’t just walk out to your receptionist and say, “Hey, you’re doing a terrible job. Um I listened to Jason’s podcast and uh and you don’t-you don’t cut the mustard, so um you know, I’ve got to get rid of you. Oh pull your socks up.” Well, you will be replacing her if-if you approach it like that. Um certainly don’t wanna– or him, I certainly don’t wanna be doing that, but certainly you want to be having the conversation with that person. Um around um improvements in that area and how we can um improve engagement and explain this situation, you’ve only got seven- seven seconds and-and explain the concept of smiling before answering the phone and positioning yourself. Here’s the onstage and off stage sort of theory on the– in the emotional bank account theory to-to support your discussion with that person. Another thing you can do is put metrics in place, um so you can put both sort of measurable statistics so you could measure how many inquiries are coming into the business and you can measure how many are actually converting to actual quotes or to-to uh sales. So you could– if you don’t do quoting or anything like that, you might have a direct sell, well, you could, um you could look at what of the new business is coming and what is actually converting and-and measure that metric because if it’s-if it’s there, if it’s fluctuating or down low, then you may have an issue there. If it’s on the increase um that’s a sign that things are-are working well on that area. You can listen to uh feedback from customers, um is another great way to do it. Um you can also, like I know in our business I’m always getting uh compliments about how Melissa answers the phone or how Melissa greets, greets uh and looks after our clients and that’s always an indicator to me that things are going smoothly. I don’t get complaints or people going,”Oh jeez, I had a terrible experience. This was supposed to happen, and never happen or whatever.” So a to– another way is to listen for feedback and um you may not be able to directly ask people but you certainly be able to get feedback from other people in the organization that um, that are having you know have experience, bad experience, or heard of bad feedbacks. So just check that out as well, as a good way to measure that thing. But the main thing is that you as the business owner don’t let this slide, you do focus on it. It is, look it’s the number watch, it’s-it’s your front door, so you really, really need to and you only got a little, little bit of time as I said um to get it right. So you really wanna just take an active interest in how that’s actually happening in your business and you will see uh, I guarantee you’ll see a profound difference in um, in-in the quality of relationships that you have with your customers because you’re not starting in the back-foot, in those um negative emotional bank accounts as we-as we discussed. Alrighty, so that’s director of first impressions, I want you to have a think about that in your business as I said and um and drop me a line and let me know um what your director of first impressions is like and-and if you’re having a good experience or bad experience. I’d like to know any feedback that you’ve got on this episode and if it’s helped you in anyway, by all means just drop me a line at, [email protected] And um yeah, let me know for sure and uh I’d love to hear from you. And also too, if you haven’t already joined our free Facebook group, do that over at businessmadeeasypodcast.com/community, I’d love to hear from you um over there too, it’s a free group to join. And um yeah, lots of people talking about great stuff over there. Sharing some wins and all-all that sort of stuff as well. So there you go. Alrighty, that’s all I had time for this week, uh director of first impressions, very, very important role, one of the most important roles in your business and is an area of your business that can really hurt your business growth. So I want you to remember that and stay focused on that as well. Alrighty, that’s it for me, until next week. Here’s to your success, I hope you have a fantastic week in business, whatever you’re up to and kick some goals and I’m gonna hand you over to Mia until next week. Take us out, Mia. Talk soon, bye!