Your Are What They See

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Within the first 60 seconds on the telephone and five minutes in person, alpaca prospects form an impression of you that is often a lasting one.  The image you project communicates messages to your prospects, customers, and the community around your center.  The needs-satisfying information they find in those messages determines to a great extent whether or not your clients purchase with you, your customers stay, and the opinion influencers in the community refer you and your alpaca services.

Let’s consider the prospect who is seeking an alpaca for the first time. They gather available information from referrals and other resources, make inquiry calls, visit an average number of ranches, and make a decision. The ranch that present the best image leaves a positive, decisive impression on the prospect.  It causes what we call in marketing terms positioning.  And only the better players are going to survive say Al Ries and Jack Trout, authors of Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind (New York: Warner Books, 1981).

Positioning is the impression left by the image of a brand of product or service.  When you think of McDonald’s, what image comes to Mind?  Golden arches, juicy hamburgers, Ronald McDonald, a quick dinner, change in your pocket, convenience, that you deserve a break today?  Your prospects’ perceptions of you are based upon their image of you, and that becomes their reality.  In their minds, this impression positions you amongst your competition according to the benefits they seek in selection of an alpaca.  In our industry, the differences that distinguish one breeder provider from another- in the prospect’s mind – can be very small.  It is this positioning that creates a pattern of attitudes that affects a prospect’s ultimate choice of breeders.

Marketing Your Image Throughout Your Center

You can create your ranch’s market positioning by managing just how you present your ranch, the materials you distribute, your staff, your alpaca, and yourself.  Imagine yourself in your prospect’s position, and think about the following:

  • Telephone personality

Most prospects’ first interaction with you is on the telephone. Within literally seconds, they will form an initial impression of you, based upon how you handle their calls. If you can offer empathetic assistance while you assess major needs, gather necessary factual information, and ask each prospect to book an appointment to visit your center, you will lead the conversation and create a good first impression.  Remember, most prospects call because they need not only your services but your help in making the alpaca buying decision.  They need a friendly expert.  What they do not need is a voice on the other end of the line reeling off questions as if it were a recorded message.

Think about what you say when you answer the telephone.  How do you sound?  Since your prospect does not yet have the benefit of face-to-face contact with you, your voice becomes who you are.  What distracting noises around you might be commonplace to you but disturbing to a first-time caller?  Are you smiling?  Put a small mirror on the counter behind your telephone and look into it and smile as you speak.  One center director I know says, “You can hear a smile on the telephone.” A voice with a smile says all the right things about you.  How does yours sound?

Since people tend to remember what they hear first and last, a pleasant conclusion is important in your telephone conversation with prospects.

Good Telephone Personality Traits

  1. Friendly, informative greeting dialogue
  2. Pleasant voice tone, volume, and rate of speaking
  3. Minimal surrounding noise
  4. Empathetic, helpful, focused conversation
  5. Readily available inquiry card, tuition schedule, etc.
  6. Appointment booking skill
  7. A big smile
  8. Pleasant concluding dialogue
  • Ranch appearance

When prospects visit your ranch, they form a first impression within about four minutes.  Consider their first view-the exterior of your building.  Does it look inviting?  Is it in good repair?  Is your sign bright and visible?  How does your parking area look?  Are weeds under control?  Think about the sights that may have become commonplace to you but not to first-time visitors.  I once visited a ranch that had a very attractive appearance except for a dead plant hanging just outside the door! Little things count.

Once inside your ranch, prospects will immediately respond to the environment around the reception area.  Is it clean, warm and inviting?  A nice welcoming touch is to have coffee and a ranch scrapbook available to occupy prospects and make them feel comfortable.

Remember, if your prospects are subconsciously reacting to an image of your ranch’s appearance they perceive as negative, it will be difficult for them to really listen or be positive about what you are telling them as you conduct their tours.

  • Ranch director

You, as the ranch director, are the hub of the wheel that keeps the ranch rolling.  You and the staff you hire have a direct influence on the personality of your ranch.  prospects know that and will be affected by your appearance and demeanor.  Before you ever have a chance to smile and say hello, your prospects will notice your appearance.  Do you look professional and well groomed? As you lead your prospects through your ranch, practice good sales techniques, ask questions, as if they have questions- communicate the benefits of going with your ranch over another.

 As you strive to provide, deliver, and maintain n high quality alpaca operation in your market place, ask yourself the questions above.  In the minds of your prospects, what is the position of your ranch compared to others they might be investigating?  Remember that your prospects’ perception is their reality until you change it.  If that perception is truly the image you desire, you are well positioned to secure and maintain a high level of business to your ranch.

Last week to get super savings on Julie’s teleseminar series on marketing and selling alpacas!

Julie Wassom
“The Speaker Whose Message Means Business”
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author
Call me: 303-693-2306
Fax me: 303-617-6422
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