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Building customer loyalty after the sale is key

The average sale takes a matter of hours. And that’s where 95 percent of sales training is focused. Not good.

After a customer purchases, that’s when use of product or service begins, and that’s where 95 percent of their time is spent.

  • What are you doing to create loyalty?
  • What are you doing to create word-of-mouth advertising?
  • What are you doing to create value in the mind of the customer?
  • What are you doing to create memorable moments?
  • What is your social media presence that focuses on customer communication and interaction?
  • What are you doing to create and ensure reorders?
  • What are you doing to earn referrals?
  • What are you doing to build a value-based relationship after the sale?
  • What are you doing to ensure it’s easy to do business with you?
  • What are you doing to ensure that everyone who answers your phone is happy, friendly and helpful?
  • What type of customer service and customer loyalty training are you doing that ensures consistent, positive, helpful responses?

Answer: Nothing or not enough.

Major clue: These questions are the heart of your future. And for the most part, the answers are way below an acceptable level to ensure your future success.

Reality: It’s likely that your present actions will ensure that you’ll have significant customer attrition, or churn, or some other BS corporate buzzword that will cost major dollars in lost customers and further ensure that your sales team will have to sell more than last year just to maintain present sales levels.

Many companies employ the hunter-farmer strategy in making sales. One person makes the sale and immediately turns it over to some service person (often with little or no personal handoff) and heads for the next sale.

Major clue: There is no dumber sales strategy than hunter-farmer, other than cold-calling.

The hunter-farmer strategy creates a vacuum between what was promised and what will be delivered. And the hunter has to continually prospect and cold-call to make new sales rather than cultivate an existing relationship and earn referrals.

For the past three years, I have asked my corporate and public seminar audiences this question: What 10 things are you doing after the sale to ensure loyalty, reorders, referrals and reputation (99.9 percent give me a blank stare.)

OK, so what can you do and what should you be doing to make certain that you are keeping the customers you have in a manner that they value? Or, better stated: What happens after the sale?

Here are a few suggestions for what to do. (Caution: They require work.)

  • Send a weekly value message. My email magazine, Sales Caffeine, is the most effective communication tool to send a weekly value message to every one of my customers. It’s now almost 500 issues strong.

Idea: Read a business book and send your customers your review with salient points of value.

  • Enhance your social media effort. By setting a full-blown, value-based business social media campaign in motion, your customers will have the chance to learn about you and get your messages and you will have a chance to learn about them and get their messages. An example of a value-based message: If you sell health insurance, tell me how to avoid common colds or keep my kids healthy.
  • Help their social media effort. Your customers could gain insight from your social media effort and visit you to learn and emulate. You have to set the example, then set the standard and then invite your customers to study your strategies to help their success.
  • Share ideas that can benefit your customers, not offers to buy your product.
  • Share observations and tips. When you visit other businesses, become aware of things other successful businesses do, note them and post about them.
  • Bring several customers together for a monthly mastermind meeting. Be the pivot person who brings together value-based meetings.
  • Refer customers. The best way to get referrals is give referrals.
  • Do business with them. Go out of your way to patronize those that feed you.

Every business wants reorders, every business wants loyal customers and every business wants to have a great reputation. The question to ask yourself is: “What (of value) am I doing about it?”

What you do after the sale determines the next sale and a whole lot more.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of “The Sales Bible” and “The Little Red Book of Selling.” President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs sales meetings and conducts Internet training on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com.

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