New customers have a tendency to evolve through three phases once they decide to buy from you.
Initially they feel very excited about their decision, before going through a learning curve where they may struggle with blending in your products/services.
Finally, they begin to experience the value that you provide and the relationship settles down and finds its own balance.
Phase 2 can be a potentially vulnerable time for a sales person, because without the benefit of an established track record, and in the face of possible problems - no matter how minor, this is the time when most newly acquired customers are apt to change their mind.
The process of buying has four main components that all customers will evolve through. They:
- Have to be motivated to want to buy from you
- Make a decision to buy from you
- Want to feel convinced that they have made the right decision
- Look for reassurance that they are doing the right thing
Once the customer has placed their order, they are at the second stage in the buying process. If a sales person doesn't provide the relevant reassurance that validates the benefits of their decision, then the likelihood of the customer cancelling their order increases dramatically.
This is often referred to as ˜Buyers Remorse." Therefore, it is important to provide tangible demonstrations that the customer has made the right decision.
These can include the use of testimonials, higher initial servicing levels, regular contact and, if appropriate, training sessions on the areas effected by the introduction of your product or service.
There are a number of additional ways that can improve the post-sale part of the sales process:
- Set a service agenda for the first 30 days after the sale, so that your customer knows exactly what they can expect from you. This may include visits and phone calls at the point when they receive your product, or your service begins. This enables you to have established contact frequency at important times when teething problems could occur.
- Ask each customer for their preferences in the way you manage their account and ensure that they have all the contact information for every eventuality.
- After the call, send a hand-written note thanking them for their business - this is a personal touch that only takes a moment, yet leaves the customer feeling valued and special.
- Identify which areas in particular the customer feels is vital to the way you manage their account, so that you can pay close attention to these areas.
- Agree up-front how future problems will be handled.
- Document all successes and evidence of your value in writing. For example: "I noticed that your delivery was received on time last Thursday and am delighted that you now have our products in stock."
- Actively ask questions to check their satisfaction. For example, "Was everything as you had expected?" "Is there anything we need to change?"This helps to flush out problems and manages the customer's expectations, so they feel they are genuinely being looked after. If there is a problem, the earlier you know about it the sooner you can remedy it.
- Resolve any complaints quickly and to the customer's satisfaction.
Never think of the first sale as the end of the sales process, but rather the beginning of the next sales cycle. What you do after you've made the first sale determines whether you get the next one, and the one after that, and referrals.
Be assured, the more tender loving care you sprinkle on your customers, the greater the yield you can anticipate in return!
Every customer is a potential advocate - and beyond that, an evangelist.