Have you be watching the talent shows on television recently?
I watched “The Voice” with my family at the weekend I was reminded of a timeless truth.
First impressions count!
A young man sang for the judges. He was good, very good in fact but he didn’t get through to the next round. Unfortunately he picked the wrong song.
The reminder came after he knew he wasn’t going through. The judges asked him what else he sang, and after telling them, they asked him to sing a little. It only took a few lines of the new song before the judges started pressing their buttons, showing that they would have put him through if he had only sung that song first.
Bad First Impression = Missed Opportunity
Since watching the show I’ve been thinking about how this applies to our micro businesses. Do you make first impressions count?
I don’t mean how you dress, speak or even the impression your website gives (although they are all important). Instead I mean the impression you give when someone actually contacts you for the first time. The first phone call, an email via your website, a message on Twitter or Facebook – what you do next creates the first impression of being in contact with you, what type of impression to create?
Here are three points that will help ensure that every first impression is a good one.
1. Learn from questions . . .
Not everyone will be ready to buy your product or service straight away, especially if you sell a service or a product with options. People will have questions and will reach out to you for answers.
- Does your widget come in purple?
- Do you ship to France?
- How long to complete my tax return?
- How long before I see results?
There are two ways that you can learn from these types of questions to help create the best first impression:
- Enhance Your Text: If someone is asking a question like “do you ship to France” it could point out that your website text isn’t clear enough about where you ship – so use the question as a prod to enhance it. Adding a line that says “We ship to the UK and Europe” to each product description could help future visitors. Always think of ways to make it easier for website visitors, don’t just bury answers in a FAQ page, take the time to enhance the text so that the information is in the right place.
- Be Ready for Future Questions: You won’t be able to add all answers to the text of your website. Questions such as “how long before I see results?” suggest that your buyer needs some reassurance. That reassurance might depend on their particular situation, so can’t be covered generically, but if you know it is likely to be on a prospects mind you can be ready for it. Prepare for the complicated questions, write some notes and store them somewhere like Evernote so that you can tweak them into a response to someone else in the future.
Always remember that unanswered questions can quickly become objections to completing a sale.
2. Be prepared for the next step . . .
What’s the next step in your sales process after someone gets in contact?
I’ve seen many micro businesses who say something like “get in contact for more information” on their websites, but then don’t seem to have the “more information” available to send out immediately.
This can make the prospective customer feel like they’re being kept waiting, you’re making it up as you go along or worse still like they are not a priority – not at all the best first impression.
If you say “get in contact for more information” and you can supply something generic when someone makes an enquiry, have it ready. Get it all written out, saved as a PDF and ready to send so you look professional and ready to give a great service.
Alternatively, if what you mean is “get in contact and after understanding more about your business I’ll prepare a bespoke quotation to meet your needs”, then say that. It creates a different expectation and people will understand that will take more time.
3. Talk a good performance . . .
Any musician will tell you that not every performance is perfect. Things happen, a singer’s voice is tired so they don’t get a high note, a pianist doesn’t quite hit the right key, etc.
But, do we notice? I guess it depends on how experienced the performer is – but the professionals will all know the rule about mistakes. You carry on! If you play a bad note, so what, that’s already gone – focus on the next ones so that the audience thinks the whole performance is great.
I’ve seen many micro business owners talking down their performance.
- I keep meaning to add that to my website . . .
- I keep meaning to fix that . . .
Honestly, I’ve seen it so many times – right at the point of creating a first impression with a new enquiry or client and the business owner is making an effort to talk down their performance – as if the new prospect somehow wants or needs to know that the business isn’t perfect!?
Can you imagine someone like Tony Bennett coming on stage and starting the performance by saying “I don’t really fancy it tonight, I had a terrible dinner and I’m quite tired and want to call my family, but I guess I need to sing so here go”? Definitely not! He’d focus and start every performance as if it needed to be his best – and that’s exactly what we all need to do as micro business owners.
Create a first impression with every new enquiry like it’s the enquiry that will make the difference to your business, that it’ll be the one your talking about for years. Do it every time and one day you’ll be right 🙂
Micro Business Action
Think about these three points above. Are there questions you’ve been asked that you could use to enhance your website text? Do you have everything in place for when someone asks for “more information”? Are you dealing with each new enquiry likes it’s going to be your best performance? Spend a few minutes reviewing these three questions today and write down some action points and put time aside to make the changes.
Here’s to your next, great performance! 🙂