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Customer follow-up is the real key to getting exceptional results when it comes to your company's sales, but only if you leverage this weapon correctly. Sales of any product or service are complicated, and following up with your customers and potential customers can be even more difficult. However, merely marketing your product or service without direct customer contact is not enough to close the deal and to then get the repeated, long-term business every company needs.
If you're ready to learn the most effective customer follow-up tips and tools that will help close the deal, and which will convert new customers to longtime, faithful followers of your product or service, consider six critical points about this process. These tips will show you how to use customer follow-up to increase sales and improve your overall bottom line, no matter your product or industry.
You may already be convinced that customer follow-up is necessary for successful sales, but how do you call back on your buyers or potential buyers without making a nuisance of yourself? Consider a few positive, proactive ways you can contact customers and anyone else who has shown an interest in your product or service and generate more attention for your product or service, without actually turning them off to you and your company in the process.
Hosting an event is an excellent form of customer follow-up, as it allows you to advertise your product or service in a very relaxed and non-confrontational way! You can also use an event to get to know your customers or potential customers personally, so you can discern how to keep following up with them, or determine what new products and services they might appreciate and might purchase from you.
Simple but effective events for customer follow-up include an open house with a tour of your facility or demonstration of your work, a workshop that offers some practical and useful advice for your customers, a trade show where your business will have a booth or display, or product launch and demonstration. Keep an event simple, so it's affordable, and so you can repeat it often throughout the year, but make it something special; hand out free samples or a custom product of some sort, and be sure to provide coffee and water and even a few light refreshments as well!
Even if potential customers did not attend an event you've hosted, you could use this opportunity to follow up with them, as well as with those who did attend. Create a small newsletter or flyer with pictures of the event, some highlights of a workshop or product launch, and of your team or staff.
These flyers or a newsletter can include the note, "If you missed this year's (product launch, open house), we sure hope to see you next time!" This statement will encourage your potential customers to stay on your invite list and to attend your next event, once they see how much fun everyone had!
Many people will have spam filters for their email, but a postcard is more difficult to overlook! Even if a customer or potential customer decides to toss out your note, they still need to look at it to determine if it's junk mail. In turn, your company name, website, product, and other such information can be imprinted in their memory, whether or not they keep your postcard.
To make postcards successful, use a template or even hire a graphic designer to create the design of this postcard for you. This will ensure your slogan or tagline, your business name, your website, and other such relevant information stands out and gets the message across.
After you've sold a customer a product or service, you might offer an inspection of your work or the product in action. For home repair services or products like new appliances, you might provide an energy audit, a check for water or other types of leaks, a check to ensure it's working correctly, and so on.
This type of service doesn't need to be extensive, as it's your chance to touch base with your customer again, so you can start a dialogue about additional products or services they might need. This time is also your chance to address any issues the customer has with your work or with a product you've sold; if you address these issues quickly and courteously, a customer may be less likely to go to a competitor the next time they need something similar.
The holidays are a great reason to follow up with your customers and potential customers. Your business should always send out Christmas cards, and you can do the same for New Year's Day, Easter, Independence Day, and so on.
It's also good to run specials around the holidays and advertise this when you send out cards or greetings, as this will ensure customers take a closer look at the cards themselves! Tell customers that you're contacting them to let them know about your "Easter Spring Clean Special for Home or Office," or your "New Year's Roof Inspection and Annual Repair Discount."
A follow-up call to customers can be an excellent tool for creating sales, but only if you know what to say! The secret to successful customer follow-up through a sales call, or any similar contact, is to stress how a particular product or service benefits them, and why they should invest in the cost of this product or service. What you're offering your customers should solve a problem, increase the value of their property, improve a product they already own, and so on.
Consider a quick example of a sales call script, and note how this script emphasizes the benefit of a company's service:
"Hello, it's (name) at (company name), and I noticed a recent listing about your building that boasted of your authentic plaster walls and fresco ceiling. It can be difficult and time-consuming to repair even the smallest crack in that plaster, but ignoring tiny bulges and chips can mean allowing that crack to grow, and this can also lead a collapsed ceiling!
Our company is the area's leader in authentic plaster repair for pre-war buildings such as yours, and we have over 50 years of experience in fixing the most beautiful and most delicate plaster, and in patching tiny cracks as well as bulging plaster ceilings. We can even add plaster detailing to your ceilings and walls, so your building retains its authentic European look. This work ensures your structure keeps its overall value and makes it look more inviting and attractive to your visitors."
Note a few points to take away from this script:
It can be good to finish up your call with a special offer that entices the potential customer to follow through. For example, you might say that you're authorized to offer them a 10% discount on their initial service, or that they are eligible to get an additional free product or service if they purchase another product or service that day.
It's never good to leave customer follow-up to chance. Instead, consider an active process you might follow, to ensure you don't overlook any opportunity you have for communicating with your customers, and for converting potential customers to long-term, faithful followers of your company!
• Give your customers a way to follow-up with you right after each sale. This method might be something as simple as a business card you leave with their paperwork, with a handwritten note that says "Call us when you're ready for an upgrade!" It might include a customer satisfaction survey or a page on your website that is for customer reviews or which answers common questions customers have right after purchasing your product or service.
• Your customers might increase your business for you, but only if you make it easy for them to refer your company to others. This method, too, can mean a business card enclosed with sales paperwork that says, "Please share with friends and family!", alternatively, it might include a type of discount or special offer for referrals that lead to sales.
• Encourage your customers to become repeat buyers or long-term customers by sending them coupons or special offers after a sale; make sure these coupons are for deals that they won't get anywhere else!
• Choose a time shortly after a sale to make a follow-up call, even within the first week; this is called the "honeymoon phase," and it's when customers are often the most excited about their new product or the service you provided. Ask your customer how something they purchased is working for them, and if they have any questions or issues requiring assistance. Close the call by encouraging them to return to your store or website, or by asking if they would like to hear about other services you offer.
Remember that each of these is an essential step in this process; you enclose business cards or notes with a purchase receipt, enclose coupons they might use soon after their purchase, and make a follow-up call within a week of your initial sale. Your follow-up is then spread out over the course of several days so that customers are always reminded of your company, but without you becoming a nuisance to them right after you close your initial sale.
Along with creating a compelling customer follow-up process, you also want to consider an actual tracking system; this system will, of course, note all pertinent information about your customers, as well as information about the products or services they've purchased. However, it should also include details such as the additional products or services they might need, and a schedule that will help you to spread out your calls, so they're not bombarded with contact from you right after a sale.
Note a few other tips for making your tracking system as effective as possible:
A customer follow-up tracking system should also include space for noting information about customers that you harvest with each call or contact. For example, they may indicate that they've had certain expenses this year, but next year they might be interested in your services. Your follow-up system should be able to flag that information, so you're sure to call them next year when they are ready to make a purchase or to hire you!
While many customer follow-up ideas are classic because they work so well to get the attention of customers, you might also consider some creative ideas that will catch the eyes of even the most jaded customer on your call sheet!
One of the best methods of customer follow-up is a survey your customers can fill out and send back. This survey can be an actual postcard that they physically mail, or it can include an online survey. If you choose something that a customer physically mails, be sure you have it pre-stamped, as customers are unlikely to use their stamps to send a survey back to you!
To ensure that customers use this survey, you might give them an incentive. This incentive can be a coupon for a percent off the next purchase for those who return your questions, or you might include all survey participants in a raffle or drawing for a particular discount or other such prizes.
Remember that a survey is a tool for you to learn how to improve your business, so be sure you include questions about your product or service and how it benefitted customers, or how it can be improved. You can also add questions about the sales process; ask if your salespersons are helpful and knowledgeable if your website is helpful and easy to navigate, and so on.
Any form of customer follow-up should also be used as a means of increasing your sales, so be sure your survey includes some punchy final paragraph. This wording can be something like, "Be sure to visit our website when you're ready to upgrade to a new metal roof that can cut your home energy bills by 30%." Another suggestion might be, "Remember that we offer a full line of plaster repair products and services, so don't hesitate to call or contact us when you need new plaster ceilings or wall repair for any room of your home."