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The Value of Staying in Touch

Aug 17, 2007
All too many of us have dealt with an organization that we were interested in buying a product or service from, only to find out that there was simply little or no follow through after a proposal was generated. You may be asking yourself, "Why?" This is such a simple thing, however few salespeople actually do it.

Unfortunately for customers, few salespeople realize that the time spent showing a genuine interest in the client's needs and concerns only makes your product/service offering stronger. It always amazes me when I am looking to make a purchase yet only one out of ten organizations never even send a thank you for taking the time to look at their product/service. "How does that make you feel you will be treated as a client? Not very good." "So, what are some easy ways to keep in touch with people?"

First, thank them-it's just that simple. When you set up a meeting, send a card to thank them for talking with you and confirming your appointment time. This sends the message that you are organized and that you appreciate their commitment to talking with you. After you meet with them, send a card thanking them for their time and letting them know a timeframe for when you will be back in touch. By doing this you are setting yourself apart from your competition, because I guarantee, more than likely they are not doing this.

Secondly, create a project plan of the implementation of your product/service. This will help your customer understand the level of service and communication they can expect from you throughout your relationship. Before implementing the plan, ask for the client's feedback and interpretation of the plan; this will ensure that you both understand the commitment and communication both parties can expect. The key is to ensure that you are always providing value outside of their original purchase with you.

Third, after you've sold your product/service-follow up. By not following up, you are allowing them to easily choose another provider. Show good customer service and interest in their likes/dislikes, additional needs etc. Keep in mind when your organization has new products and services that may complement their purchase the call becomes much easier if you've kept in touch. In addition, by keeping in touch you will continue to build rapport and they will look at you as a resource for their organizational needs without giving it a second thought.

Third, satisfied customers are a wonderful referral source. Don't be afraid to ask for referrals when you call to discuss how service has been, introduce a new product etc. If they are happy and satisfied with the service you are providing they will be more than willing to refer others to you. Referrals can be a very valuable piece of growing your business every single day; the more individuals that are advocating for you, the stronger your sales will become.

Finally, ask lots of questions it will keep the lines of communication open and show clients that you care. Once you've won business find out why and what your competition may have offered that you don't. Use this information strategically to help improve your product/service and improve your customer service with existing clients.

Keeping in touch can be as simple as providing an update of new product/service offerings and sending a card to thank them for their continued business, however by not performing these tasks you open yourself up even more to the competition. If you are not consistently in front of clients with good communication and customer service, more than likely someone else is. "Can you afford to lose them? Probably not."
About the Author
Tim Hagen, President of Sales Progress LLC, builds programs to help organizations increase sales. He has been consulting for 21 years and has helped both small and large size organizations increase their bottom line. He can be reached at http://www.SalesProgress.com or 262-240-1077.
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