It is amazing how few business owners actually take the time to follow-up after their initial contact with a prospect or customer. Within the last two weeks, I can think of at least five different occasions in my day-to-day life where business owners did not initiate any form of contact with me. Earlier this week, I stopped by a local nursery and inquired about several plants that I wanted for my garden. I also contacted two landscape developers to discuss lawn work for my home, stopped in a nail shop for a manicure, breezed over for a much need hair trim and waited over an hour for a car detail. In each situation, I was surprised to learn that some businesses believe that customer interaction is complete once the sale is made.
Why do so many business owners overlook opportunities to develop a relationship with customers? Here are a few reasons why they fail to reach out to customers:
Ask any successful salesperson and they will tell you that follow-up is the key to a successful sale conversion. The majority of leads are hardly taken advantage of because many are not aware of how effective it is in growing a business. You may receive hundreds of phone inquiries and walk-ins, however capitalizing upon these opportunities is key. Once a potential customer has inquired about a service or product, it is vital to contact them to further promote your product. Following up also applies to existing customers who have previously done business with you to confirm that they are pleased with their purchase and ensure that they continue to seek out your business for future purchases.
Not Enough Time
Many business owners feel there is not enough time in the day to accomplish all they want to do. However, customer retention is vital to the success to the company.
Let’s consider the benefits of an effective follow-up strategy:
· Repetition will keep your business on the minds of the customers
· Identifying and resolving customer complaints builds excellent customer service
· Satisfied customers are willing to refer others to your business
· Investing in customers builds customer loyalty
· Help to stay ahead of competitors
The Waiting Game
When a potential customer requests information, most businesses provide them with the information promptly. The customer may receive a brochure, email, or a phone call. Afterward, the company waits on the customer to make the next step. As business owners, we must initiate contact within a reasonable amount of time to avoid losing the customer to our competitors.
Have you ever wondered why the same commercials appear on television over and over again? The primary reason for this is repetition. Repetition keeps a company’s products and services in the minds of those viewing the commercial. When a customer thinks of a product of service, your company should be the first thing that comes to mind.
Creating a follow-up strategy will help identify where the prospect is in the buying process. The information gathered will help to increase the likelihood of a prospect becoming a customer. Send customers a thank-you note, alert them of new product offerings, implementing customer appreciation days are useful strategies in obtaining repeat customers. Based on your post-sale tactics, the customer will begin to make several purchases, instead of one purchase during the year. A satisfied customer will not only continue to seek your business for the wanted product or service, they will refer others to you as well, allowing your business to grow. Nurturing customer relationships is a key factor in developing customer loyalty.