Make Me Feel Welcomed

by Michael Keeler

Michael here. It’s been a while. Happy September!

Let’s chat about first impressions. 

Have you ever been to a traditional Japanese restaurant? 

Their front door almost always has a bell or buzzer to announce that someone has entered.

Then you are ALWAYS greeted by every employee with the expression “irasshaimase” meaning “welcome, please come in”. 

How great does that feel?

Walking into a restaurant and being greeted by a warm, unanimous embrace by every staff member acknowledging your present and welcoming you in. 

Pretty cool.

Wouldn’t it also be rad if clients at our gym recevied a similar first impression every time they walked throught the door?

Here’s why this Japanese tradition works so well…

The bell is impossible to ignore. Everyone in the room knows at once that someone has entered. Then, (here’s the most important part) it is culturally unacceptable NOT to shout “welcome.” 

Each staff member would appear rude as the one person who didn’t shout “welcome, please come in!” It’s a cultural norm that has been established over MANY years. 

So, if you want to create a similar first impression, first you have to buy bell or buzzer for your door.

Then, you would create one single phrase that every staff person in the room MUST shout EVERY time someone walks in the doors. 

We want team members who don’t follow this norm to be uncomfortable. 

Training your team starts with “Come on, give it a try – it’ll be fun. Let’s try this for a week.” A week later, it feels less weird. 

Then you say “Okay, let’s keep going. How about for the rest of the month?” 

A month later it doesn’t feel weird at all. In fact, hearing a bell at the door and screaming “welcome!” feels like business as usual – this is how we do things around here now.

Building a new cultural norm in your business takes time. But once it’s fully adopted, it will be hard to remember life without it. 

Now, go turn your team into super hosts!



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