The Three Post Sale Phases

 

Despite what the vast majority of salespeople may think these days, the first sale isn’t the end of the sales process but the beginning of the next sales cycle. What you do after you’ve made the first sale determines whether you get the next one or any referrals.

New customers have a tendency to evolve through three phases once they decide to buy from you. Initially they feel very excited about their decision before going through a learning curve where they may struggle with blending in your products/services. Finally, they begin to experience the value that you provide and the relationship settles down and finds its own balance.

During Phase 2 this can be a potentially vulnerable time for a sales person, because without the benefit of an established track record, in the face of possible problems, no matter how minor, this is the time when most newly acquired customers are apt to change their mind.

The process of buying has four main components that all customers will evolve through.

They:

1. Have to be motivated to want to buy from you
2. Make a decision to buy from you
3. Want to feel convinced that they have made the right decision
4. Look for reassurance that they are doing the right thing

Once the customer has placed their order they are at the second stage in the buying process. If a sales person doesn’t provide the relevant reassurance that validates the benefits of their decision, then the likelihood of the customer cancelling their order increases dramatically. This is often referred to as ‘Buyer’s Remorse.’ Therefore, it’s important to provide tangible demonstrations that the customer has made the right decision. These can include, the use of testimonials, higher initial servicing levels, regular contact and if appropriate training sessions on the areas affected by the introduction of your product or service. There are a number of additional ways that can improve the post-sale part of the sales process:

• Set a service agenda for the first thirty days after the sale so that your customer knows exactly what they can expect from you. This may include visits and phone calls at the point when they receive your product or your service begins. This enables you to have established contact frequency at important times when teething problems could occur.

• Ask each customer for their preferences in the way you manage their account and ensure that they have all the contact information for every eventuality.

• After the call send a hand-written note thanking them for their business. This is a personal touch that only takes a moment to do, yet leaves the customer feeling valued and special.

• Identify what areas in particular the customer feels is vital to the way you manage their account so that you can pay close attention to these areas.

• Agree up-front how future ”issues” will be handled.

• Document all successes and evidence of your value in writing. For example: “I noticed that your delivery was received on time last Thursday and am delighted that you now have our products in stock.”

• Actively ask questions to check their satisfaction. For example, “Was everything as you had expected?” “Is there anything we need to change?” This helps to flush out problems and manages the customer’s expectations so they feel they are genuinely being looked after. If there is a problem, the earlier you know about it the sooner you can remedy it

• Finally, resolve any complaints quickly and to the customer’s satisfaction.

So before dashing off, think about hanging around!

 

News: Huge ten days coming up, which will see us launch the brand new Top Sales World site encompassing Top Sales Awards, Top Sales Management  … in fact all of the “Top Sales” initiatives under one roof. Then we announce this year’s finalists for 2012 Top Sales & Marketing Awards, also next Tuesday. And finally, December’s magazine will also be published .. on the 4th. So the elves and I are going to be burning the midnight oil for a while yet – Rien de nouveau!!

What I can share with you today is a very nice graphic of the judging panel, which will be also posted next week – how many do you recognize? (The link is not live by the way)

What a world-class group!!

Finally, my first recommendation of the week: I know I have mentioned them before, but our office supplies company, Viking, really are the creme de la creme when it comes to quality of service. I cannot recommend them highly enough, do check them out HERE

 

Comments

  1. says

    Jonathan,

    I really like this post. You got to the heart of the matter.

    Years ago I saw something I’ll never forget. The CEO of a mid-size company I was consulting for had me attend a meeting with him and his counterpart in a company they had just signed as a new customer.

    My client took out his business card and wrote his home phone number on the back and told his new customer that the number was available to him, the customer, if he ever felt he needed to call. It was done so graciously and sincerely that the new customer was speechless for a minute.

    I asked my client afterward if he did that regularly. He told me he did. Of course I asked him if he every received a call at home. “Never have,” was his reply.

    If any of my clients are reading this comment they’ll know that I do the same thing, although now it’s virtually. I send a thank-you email (sorry, Jonathan–not handwritten) with my home phone number. I’ve never gotten a call at home either after all these years, but it sure sends the right message, especially when you mean it.

  2. says

    Do you know Dave, I do the same, and have done for several years: The reality is that at that level, with that amount of mutual respect and trust, you are only going to get calls in absolute emergencies – but it is the gesture that demonstrates so much.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment

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