Most of us recognise that the best sales lead you have is a satisfied existing customer, so why do SME’s so often fail to capitalise on them?.
It seems to me that there are a number of reasons, usually they boil down to not allocating the time, not thinking about it, or thinking they need some fancy CRM system beyond their means. All excuses that should not be allowed.
There are a few simple things every business should do, they should be baked into your sales and customer service processes, however simple or complicated they may be.
- Make sure the sale you have just made at least meets the standards promised, much better when they exceed. Many SME’s seem to think the sales process stops at delivering the order, perhaps receiving payment, but that is just the start.
- Make sure you are visible, and available during the delivery/installation process. This ensures that molehills do not morph into mountains.
- Take ownership of any problems that occur, not only are the problems things that have to be solved, taking ownership of them is a powerful tool that communicates commitment to the customer, and they will not forget.
- Remember the two most powerful words in sales, “Thank you”. Just saying them makes you feel good, and certainly it makes the buyer happy to hear them, creates an empathy, and opportunity to strengthen the relationship.
- Be more than a salesman, be a resource for the problems and opportunities that your customer faces. Send them snippets of information that they may find interesting, opportunities and ideas they may value. Not only does that keep you top of mind, it builds on the relationship, you stop being a salesman and become a contributor to their success.
- A final suggestion. In this day of electronic communication, email, content marketing, and all the rest, one of the oldest forms of communication works better than it ever has, just because it is different, and demonstrates you care. A snail mail thank you, personally written, stuck in an envelope, and posted will be read every time, and is guaranteed to generate a warm feeling in the receiver out of all proportion to the effort that goes into it.
Doing these things builds trust, and trust is the foundation of sales, we all know that, so why not just do it as a part of the process.
Oh, I nearly forgot the seventh!
When you have done all the above, and have a relationship with satisfied customers, ask them for leads, introductions and recommendations. Put yourself in this position. Someone you know, who knows a bit about you and your business rings and tells you of one of their trusted suppliers will make contact, and that they think you should talk to them.
Do you take the call when it comes? of course you do.