No business can survive without the lifeblood of profitable sales pulsing through it.
Many sales leaders – and sales people – know that current customers can be a productive source of new business. But there is something that is often overlooked that creates a barrier to achieving these extra sales (that is, increasing your ‘share of customer’).
It is easier to achieve a regular flow of sales if you treat each sale as part of a ‘process’ rather than as a one-off ‘event’
If you view each sale simply as an individual event you will miss valuable opportunities to enhance your customer relationships, attract more customers, keep the opposition at bay, boost your sales and enjoy higher profits.
Once the sale is ‘made’, or finalised, you will need a plan of action to capitalize on and expand your relationship with this customer. Sometimes the after-sale activities may require more attention and planning than was needed to gain the sale in the first place.
The traditional advertising/sales process attempts to move customers through a process known as AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. I like to expand this acronym to AIDAA, with the extra A standing for After the Sale.
For business-to-business sales there are numerous worthwhile, and relevant, ways to follow up on a sale
This after-sale support is necessary to close the loop and encourage the customer to buy from you again.
Try these ideas:
- A telephone call/email/letter reminding the purchaser of customer service options.
- Offer complementary or upgraded services from you at a special rate.
- Periodic emails (or brochures or postcards) reminding the customer of other products your business offers.
- In-person courtesy calls to keep in touch with purchasers of high-value low-frequency business goods or services.
- A timely reminder of a service that is due or a suggestion of consumables that may be required for the original item purchased.
- A relevant offer from another business (sent by you) that will be perceived as useful and valuable by your customer.
Some older sales training concepts emphasis closing ‘techniques’ and stress how sales is a ‘numbers game’. The more calls you make, the more presentations you make, and the more sales you close. The focus is on completing one sale and moving onto the next.
Often the quality of the customer and your relationship with them is ignored
There is some truth to this simplified old-fashioned approach, and a disciplined sales person will attempt to maximise the number of calls they make. However, a longer-term customer-centric approach to your selling activities will yield greater results for your business, your sales people and your customers.
It’s your choice … you can just make a sale, or you can manage the sales process to create a lasting relationship that will cause your customer to want to buy from you again.
Which outcome are you focused on?