After the Sale
A lot of emphasis in business is placed on obtaining new clients – which is understandable as it generates the income!
However, what comes after the sale is just as important and also has a dollar value to your business. It’s during this time that your new client will confirm whether they will do business with you again and/or refer you to others.
I imagine you are already very conscious of looking after your clients, but here are some quick reminders from the client’s perspective.
1. What if the product or service the client wants is currently unavailable? This can be frustrating, especially when the client has spent some time researching their decision. Whilst these things do happen, what you do at this point will dictate how the client feels about the experience and your business. Always apologise for the inconvenience and then tell them what you can do (eg: order it in, rearrange a schedule, etc). When there is an extended delay or further inconvenience, consider offering some small compensation such as a discount or a gift voucher.
2. Are you suggesting additional options which the client doesn’t need or want? Ultimately this shows that you haven’t taken the time to understand what’s important to the client and they will respond accordingly. Sometimes we can also get carried away when a sale is made and believe that this is our big chance to sell them everything we have available. Remember – if you do a good job this won’t be your only chance to sell them something, there will be plenty more opportunities in the future. Simply ask if you can assist with anything else and then let them tell you.
3. Have you informed them about what happens next? Some products require installation and some services have a much longer process with a number of stages. In these cases the process should always be made clear, so that clients know what’s happening next and when. This removes any potential stress from them and it will save you time (as they won’t be calling you constantly to check on progress).
4. Are you keeping them informed? It’s a simple rule If you promise to do something by a certain time then either do it or call to reschedule. Clients understand that there are changes sometimes and whilst it might be annoying, it will be compounded if you don’t let them know what’s happening. Even when there is no update or you are still waiting on something, you should still contact the client. This call confirms that you are managing the process effectively so that they don’t need to follow you up – again it’s also about proactively managing your time.
5. Do you know what it’s like to go through your sales process? As a business
owner you should know exactly what it’s like to sit through your own processes. Look at your paperwork critically – do you need all of it? Some forms may be needed for legal reasons but if you do have a lot of paperwork, find a way to make the process easier (eg: provide clear instructions on what they need to fill out, offer to guide them through what is required). If you have an online ordering system then visit your website and go through your ordering process. If clients have to click all over the place to find things, go through multiple screens to make a purchase or if it takes ages to load they won’t come back and you will soon understand these challenges if you place a test order yourself.
Remember that making the sale is the first step in a very important process and the success of your business depends upon what you do next.