Years ago I was the opening manager for the first location of a brand new movie theatre chain. One of our mottos was "Being #1 is as easy as 1-2-3
1. Welcomes, pleases and thank you's
2. Next in line service
3. Suggestive selling at the concession stand.
We wanted our cast members (employees) to have something simple, tangible to grab on to that expressed what we felt was important.
We posted signs in the back hallways, the locker rooms, the employee room (basically everywhere we called "backstage" yes, including the restrooms).
Another thing that we did in training was to talk about the "Zone of Influence".
The Zone of Influence was a designated area around each employee, that when a guest entered into that zone, the employee either needed to engage them in conversation or at least offer them a greeting.
To help put this policy into action we took an 8' piece of PVC conduit, painted it orange and put a rope that would go around the back of our “guest” or cast member’s neck so the PVC would hang at about knee level and extended 4' on either side of the guest. In training the cast member would walk around (back stage) wearing this contraption and teaching each employee where their "Zone of Influence" was.
I am sharing this as I recently had a flash back to that experience.
It happened while I was attending a business/ministry seminar. The experience started when I walked up to enter the building and someone was there to open the door, welcome me and give me directions as to where I should go for registration. As I hit the registration table I was greeted with a hearty "Welcome, we are glad you are here". After receiving a name tag, the person at the table told me where the complimentary snacks were located and where I could purchase a book that the presenter had written, if I was interested.
Leaving the registration table and heading towards the snacks I walked into the "zone of influence" of someone else that was working the seminar. As I entered their "zone" I was again greeted and was asked if I had ever been at this place before. What transpired was a couple of minutes of great conversation with this "ambassador" of the church.
Turns out we knew some of the same people and he ended the conversation with a welcome to come back and visit on a Sunday.
It was a no pressure, kind invitation.
It was as I sat down for the seminar that the flashback from my movie theater days came back. I thought it really IS as easy as 1-2-3!
1) I was politely greeted, everyone was polite and engaging
2) It was well staffed (there were about 1000 people attending the event) I never had to wait at registration, snacks or when purchasing of the book.
3) I was appropriately "sold to" by suggestion. The person at the registration table sent me in the direction of the book table. Also, the ambassador from the church softly sold me on attending on a Sunday morning.
To top off the great experience I had getting into the room for the seminar, the presenter was outstanding.
So the challenge is for you and your church to do this on a Sunday morning.
How? It's as easy as 1-2-3
1) Great people at the door, tell, show and take them to the places that they need to go. For example, if they have children take them to a special express lane for visitors where they can check their children. Show them where the coffee is. Tell them about unique things.
Remember they do not know your culture. Tell them if they can take coffee into the sanctuary, tell them that is normal for people to be talking in the lobby until 1 minute before the service. Explain to them that your pastor or members of the pastoral staff would like to meet them after the service, and point out the location. Very important, show them where the bathrooms are.
2) Make sure you are well staffed in the greeting area, coffee area, children's area etc. Set up special lanes or stations that you can take the visitors thru - and remember they do not know the culture or routines that are so comfortable to you.
3) As your guests return, tell them about special events and opportunities that might be interesting to them. Best of all invite them to lunch, get to know them.
This is not just the job of staff, but it really is the job of everyone in the congregation.
Go and do it! It really is as easy as 1-2-3