By Larry Caretsky
You’ve worked hard to build your business. You have been selling effectively and adding new customers but in all the euphoria you may have forgotten about the importance of post-sale follow up. Neglecting this vital step may mean that your business is so focused on sales numbers that you haven’t extended your sales efforts towards repeat sales, customer referrals or building brand recognition.
Here are five tips to proactively build sales relationships and generate positive customer satisfaction:
- Keep the long-term goal in mind. The goal is bigger than just closing the sale and moving on to the next one. You need to establish a positive two-way business relationship with customers in order to encourage future business transactions. Keep the long-term view in mind during every negotiation or sales pitch. The “end” doesn’t really come upon the closing of a deal. The relationship should evolve into one of trust and one that provide a return on investment for your customer.
- Make the ROF call. This stands for “Relationship building, Opportunity identifying and Follow-up.” This is the call you make after the transaction/deal is done. For the IT services consultant, it could be the call after the cloud and firewall solutions are fully implemented in the data center. For a car dealer, it’s the call made to a buyer the day after he leaves the showroom. This call is important for establishing trust. It requires minimal effort, but could result in future sales with the customer.
- Do the unexpected. Call customers when they least expect it to see how they are doing. Whether the sale is big or small, communicating with customers on a periodic basis will help build the relationship and open the door to new opportunities and increased sales. Maybe you offer a cloud-based email marketing suite and found a great article about email best practices. Send it over to your clients to help them get the most out of their service. Check-in unexpectedly (but not at an annoying frequency). You want to show the client that your goal is their satisfaction.
- Look for other opportunities within the client company. Remember, every company has one entry door but multiple windows. If the client is satisfied, ask them about other departments in their company that might need your product or service and if they can provide an introduction. If they are not satisfied, then offer a path to resolution.
- Continue the loop. If your sales contact doesn’t have an immediate need for your product or service, don’t just end the call. Ask about any changes that are happening within the organization or the industry. This may provide you with valuable insight about the potential for add-on sales or what may be required for customer retention. It also shows the customer you are interested in learning about the challenges they face going forward.
Everyone knows that it’s easier and less costly to retain and grow your customer base than to get new customers, but fewer are willing to work at it. Savvy salespeople use these five proactive techniques to ensure the close of the sale isn’t the close of a relationship. They understand that sales success is related to building a sound relationship through guaranteeing satisfaction and engaging the customer frequently.
Larry Caretsky is CEO of Commence Corporation, a leading provider of online CRM software for small to mid-size businesses. Caretsky is considered an expert in the field and has written numerous white papers on the subject of CRM including S.T.E.P, a proven methodology for the successful implementation of CRM software and a book, Practices That Pay – Leveraging Information to Achieve Selling Results.