Would I be dazzled if I walked through your front entrance? More importantly, would a prospect be dazzled?

By Steve Moran

The Magic Castle is a magic-themed nightclub in Hollywood that you can only get into if you have an invite (though it turns out that getting an invite is only mildly difficult). In addition to having to have an invite, they have a very strict dress code. Finally, they also have a bunch of strict rules about how you behave once you make it past the front door.

Last winter, I was in the Los Angeles area for a conference and my good friend Michael Owens, who produces the Senior Living Innovation Forum, was also there . . . who happened to have an invite to the Magic Castle. I had only been once before many years ago, so I attached myself to him for the evening.  

I knew there was a dress code and that my “Chuck’s” were definitely not going to pass the test. Therefore, I went and bought new shoes; however, I was still not sure if I would be able to get in. I was nervous. It turned out I was indeed still underdressed. I had on a silk polo shirt, slacks and a sports jacket . . . and my new shoes. Yet, it was still not good enough.  

Fortunately, they had loaner clothing. Once appropriately dressed in their dress shirt and tie, I was on my way in. And it was worth it. The whole night was a string of fun, delightful experiences — which all began by having to say a magic word that gets a door hidden behind a bookcase to open.

Making It Worth It

As with all first impressions, it is impossible to make all the anticipatory anxiety go away. In fact, I believe those anxieties actually create an amazing opportunity to dazzle . . . to create an amazing first impression. For me, Willow Valley is the easiest one. When you first walk in the main entrance, you see a bowling alley, pinball and skeeball machines on the right side and you immediately know you are in someplace very different and special.  

Mostly though, most first impressions — like most hotel experiences — are at best just ordinary. Consequently, this means if anything goes wrong, then it will disappoint.  

Would I be dazzled if I walked through your front entrance? More importantly, would a prospect be dazzled? Like walking into the Magic Castle or the Magic Kingdom?  

There are so many ways you could make this happen. I would love to share what you do to create a magical first impression for every visitor.

Read Part 1: The Scariest Moment In Senior Living