So what happens after a customer buys from you? “Thank you, have a good day. Bye-bye!”
If the purchase is the end of your sales process, you’re doing it all wrong!
I’m back from the ASI Show in Chicago, my last major industry trade show of the year. It’s always such a pleasure seeing our Inner Circle and AIM SmartEQP members and meeting so many new people at my training sessions, our booth and our various get-togethers.
One of the topics we discussed in Chicago was all about what happens after the sale. And if you get this wrong, you’re leaving a ton of money on the table.
We all know intellectually that there’s more to sales than getting an order, delivering an order and getting paid. As a professional in our industry, completing that first order should be viewed as the official beginning of your business relationship with a client, not the end. Although many distributors treat it that way.
Too often, we’re so excited about the prospect of getting an order that we just want to grab it, run out the door and get it processed, before the client has an opportunity to change his or her mind. Send out a bill, then it’s quickly on the next prospect.
But here’s the deal… If you don’t have a solid, proven process in place for bonding with your clients, evaluating the results of the work you’ve done with them, gauging their response to that work, and using that experience to tee up the next sale, you are missing out on the lion’s share of the profits.
Very few clients spend the bulk of their money on a first order with a new vendor. It happens, but it’s very rare. More often, a new client will “try you out” to see how you do. If you don’t completely mess up the first order, you may get a shot at a second. If that goes well, maybe a third. And eventually, after trust has been established and confidence starts to run high, you may hit pay dirt — that big money, high margin order you’ve been waiting for!
But that can’t happen if you don’t first pass the hurdle of each all-important order successfully, from the first through the last.
Each order gives you an opportunity to continue bonding with the client after the sale. You’ll want to sweat the details! Gather and document all the information correctly, confirm the details with the client, convey it all correctly to the supplier and pay particular attention to important deadlines and in-hands dates.
You’ll also want to acknowledge the order appropriately and with positivity. Send thank you notes that incorporate three messages: Thank you for your order, I appreciate the opportunity to work with you on your promotional challenges and I look forward to working with you again in the future. Continue in each communication to telegraph the next steps. They should never have to wonder if or when they’re ever going to hear from you again.
Typical distributors feel like they’re done after the order has been delivered and payment received. But my clients — at least the ones who follow my instructions — have a multi-step formula in place for evaluating the results of each order with the client.
Lesser distributors are scared to do this, because they think, “what if I ask them about the results of the order and they’re not happy with it?” Let me tell you, if they’re not happy, you’re likely to find out about it one way or another, but maybe not until they’ve moved all their future business somewhere else. Obviously, you’re far better off being proactive about this and finding out about any potential problems while there still may be time to do something about them.
There’s much more to generating repeat business and cultivating a high value client base than just recommending product and providing pricing. If you want to be seen as a professional and paid like one, you’ll want to give as much or more thought and attention to your clients after the sale as you do before. It’s the clearest path to turning one-time buyers into lifelong clients.
If you’re new to the industry and need to get grounded in the essentials of promotional products sales, visit us online at topsecrets.com/gettingstarted. If you need to get clients now with no distractions and no excuses, visit topsecrets.com/tsca. Or, if you’re a smart, focused, independent distributor doing a reasonable volume of sales, join the AIM SmartEQP community today at SmartEQP.com that’s SmartEQP.com.