It took you a lot to bring them in. Now it’s time to keep them. Remember, prospects become customers and customers morph back into prospects. (Think about that!)
For many salespeople (especially those that classify themselves as hunters, more on Hunters and Farmers later), service and follow-up activities are often the most overlooked part of the sales process. But if it’s less cold calling you want (does anyone want more?), it’s your service and follow-up that’ll get you there.
While prospecting is something that should always be done, it doesn’t need to be done cold in all cases.
Implementing a deliberate and proactive service and follow-up schedule can help you get closer to that utopia where business comes to you by word-of-mouth and referral rather than through the 100 dials = 50 contacts = 10 appointments = 3 proposals = 1 sale formula.
Nothing fancy here. It’s simply a matter of taking a look at what you feel should happen after you close something, writing it down, and making a checklist so that you’re sure you’re maximizing the value of your existing base of customers. Keep in mind, these activities also will not only help you get more non-cold calling business but will also help you retain your current customer base.
On your own or with your team (preferably outside the money hours), work through the guidelines and thought prompts below to create a service and follow-up schedule that pertains to your particular sales world.
After all, it’s your paying customers who should get the majority of your "saleslove" – give it to them.
- Show gratitude
- Affirm buyer’s decision
- Minimize potential buyer’s remorse
- Address potential challenges as they arise (before they grow into something worse)
- Identify upcoming needs to develop more sales
- Retain customers and lock out competitors
- Obtain referrals & word-of-mouth prospects
YOUR SERVICE & FOLLOW-UP SCHEDULE
Be sure to work through this using pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Once complete, bring your current service & follow-up activities together with the items you develop in this exercise to create your formal service & follow-up schedule.
Put it in a spreadsheet or create a binder with an individual checklist for each new customer/ sale. Keep a small box of individual checklists on index cards. Bottom line… Make it something simple so it gets done and you can drive more sales.
What is your current service & follow-up schedule?
Things to consider:
What happens once a contract is signed or a sale is made? Be sure to include the time intervals when each of the service and follow-up activities take place (e.g., thank you email is sent upon verbal commitment, thank you note is mailed upon receipt of signed contract, etc.)
SERVICE & FOLLOW-UP EVALUATION
What service & follow-up activities would I like if I were the buyer of my product/ service (activities not currently done)?
- Thank you call, email, note, and/or gift
- An initial feedback phone call following implementation
- A technical and/or customer service inquiry by another department
- A feedback phone call or letter after some period of time of usage of product/ service
- An annual/ quarterly/ monthly feedback call or letter
- An annual/ quarterly/ monthly breakfast/ lunch/ dinner to address needs or for continued relationship development
- What service & follow-up activities could I add to my schedule that would potentially drive additional sales from my customer?
- Send a helpful third-party book addressing another area where you have a solution
- Send a customer newsletter with helpful ideas for their particular world (business or home)
- Send relevant industry news stories or trade magazine articles
- Give a plant or headquarters tour
What service & follow up activities could you add to your schedule that would potentially drive referrals and word-of-mouth prospects?
- Send a note asking for referrals
- Call or arrange a meeting where you can ask for referrals
- Send several pre-done postcards with stamps for your customer to send to friends/ colleague
- Who might benefit by talking with you about your product/ service
- Send referrals to your customer
It's Your Turn
Now it's your turn. Get our there and make your customers fall in love with your brand next year by loving on them first! It's not hard stuff, it just takes effort. So get started today!