Greeting Your Customer

Ken Corbin: MH Sales Process
Manufactured housing industry sales consultant Ken Corbin.

‘You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.’ – Will Rogers

As your customer enters your office, everything they see must give them an emotional feeling of trust and comfort.

In our hemisphere, everything we do is left to right and top to bottom. Think of coming up to a stop sign. You look left, look right, look left again and then proceed.  If you’re reading a book, you look left to right and top to bottom. If you’re writing a letter, you again go left to right and top to bottom.

The same natural tendencies are with customers who enter your parking lot. Watch carefully where people park and you’ll see the majority will park to the left of an entrance to a building.

Regardless of where they park, make sure there are signs that clearly state “Please Register at the Information Center”.

Success Breeds Success

Focus Walls

So if you can expect that a customer will naturally look left, then look right and then move forward into your office, even if you have a left swing door, this is still the natural way a customer will get that first serious impression of your operation. That being the case, the next time you enter your office, look carefully at your office and note everything your customer sees for the first time.

Employee and customer pictures, point-of-purchase materials, testimonials, letters of recommendation, live plants and round tables with chairs are essential.

Let’s start with pictures. First of all, remember that every picture in your office must be framed. Nothing is ever to be placed on a wall with scotch tape, thumb tacks or push pins.  Make it a habit each day to walk through the office and ensure every wall hanging is evenly spaced and the taped-on back of the picture is held in place.

You’ll hear me frequently say, “Make doing business with you easy!”  

Thus, the first pictures you’ll want your customer to see is pictures of every employee.

Remember, they’ll look left to right and since we also read top to bottom, put everyone involved in the sales process starting at the top left.

Prepping for First Visitors

If they are visiting your office for the first time, and had already spoke to someone, this is an easy way for them to remember who they talked to on the phone or via email. If they’ve previously visited your model home village, it’s another easy way for them to remember who they spoke to during their last visit.

Every picture should simply have the person’s name and title.  Avoid turning the picture into a brochure.

See, make doing business with you easy!

You’ll note that as we go thru this program, I’ll be using the term “Model Home Village” and not “Lot” or “Sales Center.” We’ll be spending quite a bit of time on subliminal phrases as we go thru this series.

Success Breeds Success

Throughout the office, hang pictures of customers who have purchased homes from your company. I recommend putting four pictures to an 8 ½ x 11’’ standard size with the city the homeowner is from underneath the picture.  

Don’t post their names. Why?

You want your customer to subconsciously see other people who are pleased doingSuccess Breeds Success business with you. It also will have them thinking about who those people might be; all the time absorbing friendly smiles from satisfied and happy customers. You want your new customer to, consciously or not, project themselves into the photo on the wall.

Because people who have their picture taken are apt to smile, I do recommend taking the photos in front of the home the customer is purchasing. It’s also great to have it taken with the sales consultant, if possible, to show everyone is happy and smiling.

In the beginning, start with customers who leave a deposit for the first time. This will give you a jump start on your pictures.

Thus, your new prospect is looking at all of the happy customers who have done business with you. So, success breeds success and you’ve begun the process of selling on emotion, feelings and trust. I guarantee this will be one of the more important areas of the business and will take down many of the initial barriers your prospect might have.

Coffee, Soda, Water

There are three primary drivers customers feel are important when making a housing decision. They are quality, service and price (or value). Your initial impressions have done a great job in letting the customer know you build dreams and make people happy.

One of the unique methods I’ve used to create an initial feeling of value is to have a 25 cent soda machine available to customers. To give away something is OK, but it doesn’t create value.

Many businesses offer free soda or bottled water, but the 25 cent machine has them contemplate why the drink  is so inexpensive. It makes them look for quarter, ask for change and creates that subconscious thought of, “Wow, if their soft drinks are only 25 cents, their homes must be inexpensive as well.”

I don’t believe in charging for coffee or water. However, I do post a cute sign in the refreshments area that reads “Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy!”

Everyone laughs when they read it, and it’s another subconscious way of taking down a barrier.

What we’re doing here is setting the foundation on the three premises: How do I want someone to remember me? How can I create the right first impression? How do I want to be perceived?

Ken Corbin is an industry leader in helping communities & retailers sell more homes. He can be reached at (888) 823-4945.