When was the last time you made a significant purchasing decision — bought a house, purchased a car, made a large investment? Was your salesperson more focused on converting the sale than building a relationship? No one likes that!
I believe that people who are shopping usually want to buy, but never want to be sold to. Yet there are churches operating under the same approach as the pushy salesperson. We can be so excited to see a new person walk through the door that we overwhelm them. Focusing on relationship first, before pushing them toward the new members’ class or open volunteer positions list, helps a visitor know that the value they add to your community is their presence, not their service. Of course we want them to get involved, but we have to resist the urge to start there.
Build community with guests before converting them.
Church leaders can be intentional about building community with guests before getting them plugged into ministry. Here are a few ways you may want to rethink the way you engage with visitors.
- Take a fresh look at the spaces in your church. Do they invite conversation, connection, and comfort?
- Consider the connection between physical spaces and the bigger story you are inviting people into. Do your connection spaces encourage people to get involved in a bigger story?
- Rethink your connection cards. Does your connection card encourage guests to share their stories and ask questions about the church?
- Make sure every volunteer is trained, passionate, and confident. Volunteers are the first impression of your church. Are they glad to be there? Do they appear equipped?
Successful companies understand this very well. The quick sale can kill a business. For instance, a person who walks into the local coffee shop will spend roughly $4–5 on that visit. Not much in the moment ... but over their life, that customer will spend closer to $14,000 buying coffee somewhere. Starbucks gets this. They want your experience to have a specific, standard feel and quality every time. They don’t want your $4, they want your $14,000. How does your connection and engagement process foster relationship building? How easy is it to be known in your community as a guest?
When was the last time you took a hard look at your connections process?