If someone asked my opinion on the single most powerful zero-cost but huge-reward investment that could be made in a lighting showroom… a great customer greeting would be the easy answer.
According to retail experts, more than 75% of the impression clients have of your company is formed within the first 60 seconds after they walk through your door. It’s critical that we get that right.
WITHIN THE FIRST 10 SECONDS: EYE CONTACT & SMILE
(ideally, have your front counter and computer monitors positioned so that the person working the front counter can directly see the front door and easily make eye contact with people who walk in)
Research led by psychologists Eisenberger and Lieverman in 2003 showed that even babies respond to this. Friendly eye contact (but not a stare or just a quick glance) plus a warm smile is the human brain’s #1 signal of social acceptance. Comfortable eye contact with a welcoming smile instantly builds trust and like-ability in virtually 100% of human beings.
Even if helping another customer, try to always have the front counter person make eye contact and smile within 10 seconds after a new customer walks through the door.
GREET AT ABOUT 15(ish) SECONDS
The rule: don’t ever ignore, but don’t pounce either. Retail psychologists have indicated that a customer NOT being greeted is the #1 reason for at least 54% of all lost brick-and-mortar sales opportunities. Not greeting visitors to your lighting showroom is the cardinal sin in my book, but pouncing on people as they come through the door is also not good.
Jumping to greet the moment a customer walks in makes them feel like a target. Instead, we want them to feel like a valued and welcomed guest (soon to be friend)! The Retail Doctor recommends giving about 15 seconds to allow people to walk in, get adjusted, and look around a bit before you greet (but you should have made eye contact and smiled earlier).
I think it depends somewhat upon your showroom layout, but greeting a visitor at about 15(ish) seconds is a decent target to shoot for.
ALWAYS START WITH “WELCOME”
Studies indicate that, in showroom sales environments, greetings that start with the word “welcome” are the top performers. Used consistently, starting with “welcome” is – with nothing else changed – shown to increases sales by over 16%.
Here’s the three key scenarios to practice, train, and plan for:
Greet recognized visitors with “Welcome back <first name if you can remember it>!”
(note: it’s proven that remembering and using a person’s first name is the single most powerful way to signal that they are familiar and important to you)
Greet unrecognized visitors with “Welcome to <your company name> is this your first time visiting us?”
(note: if “Yes”, and if they’re not in a hurry, signal your hospitality by offering to give a quick tour of the showroom… like you might for a friend who is visiting your home for the first time)
While Helping Another Customer
First ask the existing customer to excuse you for just a brief moment, and then greet the new visitor with “Welcome! I’ll be right with you shortly.”
Note: never never never answer a phone, turn away to talk to another customer, or walk away from a customer you’re helping without FIRST showing the courtesy of asking to be excused… and then only be away long enough to welcome the new visitor/caller and let them know that you’ll be right with them. Put the customer first, and the first customer is always the first first
FROM JASON: MAY I ASK A FAVOR?
Let’s be real… as lighting showrooms, we need to do a better job of marketing ourselves. I’d like to invite you to explore a marketing solution while you’re in Dallas next month. Lit Living automates the 10 Marketing Essentials that all lighting showrooms should be doing consistently… but usually don’t have the time and/or budget.
This new solution is a game-changer.
Next week I’ll send out a quick-read email with a bit more detail. Will you go through that and then if you can squeeze out 10 to 12 minutes in Dallas, click the calendar link to reserve a time to come over and take a closer look. We’ll be right there in the Trademart.
P.S. I know… I’m always running from appointment to appointment in Dallas too. I promise you won’t be sorry.
Jason Petersen owns Hansen Lighting Inc. a lighting company with multiple showrooms in Utah.
Jason acquired Hansen Lighting out of near-bankruptcy in 2004 and turned the company around by implementing outside-the-box systems and ideas. The company is now one of the fastest growing companies in America (#3087 on the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list) and has been recognized as one of the most profitable privately-owned retailers in North America.
Jason is also the co-founder of XOLogic and Lit Living Inc.