What You Do First and What You Do Last, Can Make or Break Your Business

Thursday 1 September, 2016 | By: Graham McGregor | Tags: HR, management, staff performance

As a professional speaker, I have been taught that there are two critical parts to a speech. These are the beginning and the end. Any audience will usually remember best what comes first in a speech and what comes last in a speech. For this reason, all speakers know to plan these two parts of the presentation very carefully.

In business, the same principle applies.

Customers usually remember what happens in the first interaction with any organisation and also the last interaction that happens with any organisation.


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Here are four examples to get you thinking…

The horrid fruit shop:
Many years ago I used to live in a small flat in the inner city. I had a fruit shop just down the road from my flat. The fruit was always fresh, presented beautifully and looked great.

I had a very unfortunate first interaction with this shop.

I walked in and asked for half a dozen apples. The person serving me put a paper bag on the scales and began dropping the apples into the bag very roughly. I was a bit concerned about my apples being bruised so I asked politely if they would mind being a bit more careful with them. I was then shouted at and told off for complaining.

How many times do you think I went back? That's right; I never went back.

This is an extreme example I know. It does illustrate the impact that one negative first experience can have on a customer. (And I still remember it over 36 years later.)

My local furniture shop:
I purchased a duvet from a bedroom furniture shop.

As I paid for it and was getting ready to leave the sales lady who served me carefully passed me the duvet.

"This is one of the most popular duvets we sell," she said. "You will sleep like a baby with it. Thank you for your business".

This was the last interaction that I experienced with this company and did you think I felt positive?  Of course, I did. I had been told I had made a good purchase and thanked for my business. 

I had never used this company before, and I knew instantly that I would go back. All from one positive last impression.

The dentist everyone wants to see:
Paddy Lund is an incredibly successful Australian dentist. When you visit Paddy's dental office, he has a fresh cappuccino machine in the waiting room for you to use.

You know the room you will be receiving treatment in because it has your name on it. There is a sign that reads "This room prepared especially for John Smith”. 
His customers often comment on what a great experience it is coming into his dental practice, and Paddy has positively differentiated his business again from his competitors.

The dealership that makes buying a car an experience:
Carl Sewell runs the largest and most successful Cadillac dealership in the United States. Carl makes sure that the restrooms in his dealerships are immaculate. He uses wallpaper that costs $250 a roll on the walls. His floor tiles are exceptionally high gloss so they stay clean. They are washed every hour on the hour. His customers often comment on what an amazing experience it was going into his restrooms and Carl has made a positive impression on his customers.

Write down what typically is a first and last interaction with one of your customers. Write down three things you can do to make these more enjoyable for the customer.

Use one or more of these this week. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.


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About the contributor:

Graham McGregor has had 36 years 'hands on' experience in sales and marketing. He has sold a range of services including advertising, sales training, personal development, life insurance, IT services, investment property and business consulting services. He is also the marketing advisor and creator of the 396 page 'Unfair Business Advantage Report’. Website: http://www.theunfairbusinessadvantage.com




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