If you called up most of your leads and asked to spend an entire afternoon in their office, they would more than likely scoff at your request — they simply don’t have the time. But when a potential customer arrives for a site inspection, you have a tremendous opportunity to close the deal with a captive audience. There is no other occasion where you will have the hours, or even days, to show a customer exactly what you can offer, so don’t blow it.
Often, there is talk about the bottom line. But don’t take shortcuts to cut costs here; win that next big piece of business and you are sure to affect the bottom line far more than by saving a few bucks on the site inspection. You should view a site inspection with a potential customer as the ultimate chance for success. To win the business, you should be pulling out all the stops, but it’s also imperative you get the little things right.
First impressions are fragile, so make sure the client is comfortable — he or she is not just a stranger along for the ride. Go with your established, proven practices and staff. Don’t send the rookie our there to be the face of your business. Send the people who have the skills and experience to create strong rapport with the client. Customers like to do business with people they like, so be personable, knowledgeable, and uncompromisingly accommodating.
That said, here is part 1 of our 2-part series for making sure your next site inspection is as efficacious and outstanding as possible.
- Wash the car. Nothing looks more unprofessional than picking someone up in a begrimed and disheveled vehicle. That first impression really counts.
- Greet them at the airport. Regardless of how busy you are, take the time to make sure clients are comfortable when they arrive. This is a perfect time to learn more about them personally, create rapport and begin to gain their trust. Offer to make a quick stop at the local convenience store or pharmacy for any last minute items they may need.
- Know what clients have been through. Be understanding that your clients may have had a busy 72 hours or travelled a long way on a 4 a.m. flight to get there. If they are coming from Orlando to the mountains of Colorado, they may not be prepared for the weather, so be ready to anticipate and fulfill potential needs.
- Do your homework. Get to know your clients before they arrive. Even a moderate understanding of where they come from, geographically and personally, can give you crucial insight into their personalities, wants, and needs. Do your best to know some of the important little things like the names of their family members and the things they are passionate about. It can go a long way to helping you successfully do business.
- Hotel arrival. This may seem obvious, but it is often overlooked. Make a quick call to your contact at the hotel, and make sure they are aware of your arrival time. A seamless check-in will set the stage for the rest of their stay.
- Room gift. If you have done your homework before the site inspection, you will know what your client’s likes and dislikes are. Be sure to have a nice welcome note and a gift that represents your destination well. If they will be taking it home with them, make sure it is small enough to fit in their carry on.
- Itinerary. Take the time to create a detailed itinerary for the day ahead (this can be left with the room gift). Spend a few minutes over a coffee in the morning discussing the venues you will be visiting, but be ready and willing to be accommodating.
- Know the route. Run the route beforehand. You don’t want to give the impression that things are complicated or that you aren’t knowledgeable. After all, you’re the local expert so be sure you know where you are going.
- Know the venues. Make sure you have vetted the venues beforehand, and make sure you are knowledgeable about them. Don’t wander around venues with a customer trying to figure out where things are or how they work.
- Know the timing. Don’t get caught up waiting for someone to show up with keys or give a demonstration or tour. Make sure your appointments are set and everyone is coordinated. Have a backup plan so you don’t end up sitting around wasting a potential client’s time.