Friday, October 16, 2015

a warm welcome

First impressions are everything: they set the tone, establish a framework of what to expect for your clients or guests, and introduce what's to come.  You only get one chance to greet someone; there are no do-overs.  You must be spot-on every time.

When you're working in a small boutique or office, the most logical time for greeting is upon immediate entry to the space - whether a quick hello, a smile or wave, you physically acknowledge your clients' presence.  As the employee, remove all barriers.  Walk to meet your clients on the same plane, introduce yourself, and welcome them to your business.  It's at that time that "discovery" begins - learning what brings the client in, what goods and services you can suggest, and execute those plans.

In a larger store or office, sometimes there are layers - multiple floors, departments and private areas.  If you're assigned a particular zone, welcome your clients when they enter your space, just as you would as if the space was it's only building.  Speaking of space within spaces - it's important to always treat your zone like it's in a building of its own - how does your space look to the outside?  Do your fixtures and displays tell a "story" from all sides?  Is your cash wrap / desk space organized and free from clutter from all angles?  Ensuring your area maximizes space and impression will ensure strong profits and successes.

Never assume your clients have been greeted.  Maybe they slipped in unnoticed.  Or they were engaged in conversation and the other associates / greeter / security guard didn't want to interrupt.  Regardless, start from the beginning.  And remember, body language is everything.  Tall posture, not slouching or leaning.  Never fold your arms.  If your body is physically open, you'll be professionally ready to receive your clients.  You want to be as approachable and available as possible.

Especially in a luxury setting, keep the "clutter" to a minimum.  Other than the store telephone, your client book, and maybe an iPad or store issued device, there shouldn't be much else on the salesfloor but your products and props.  This allows your "look" to be in harmony with the vision of the brand, and allow you to be even more ready to serve the client.  If you've "set up shop" on top of a display case, you're not only blocking the view, but you're sending the message to your clients that you're not available to offer assistance.  In luxury, and any segment for that matter, you must be ready for your customers as much as possible.  Ready to serve.  Ready to please.

Think about external factors that assist in welcoming warmly.  Lit candles or room fragrances, music, lighting, even wall colors or treatments and textured flooring all add to the ambiance.  Attention to detail will not be lost on your discerning clientele.

A warm welcome is genuine.  A warm welcome is your physical body language, the words that you speak, and the added attention from the space you're working in.  Make it happen and all will be well. 

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