Or "Why Joan isn't seeing the rewards for her effort!"
One of the reasons people aren't successful in building their business is they have no reason to call a customer.
You know the scene - call a customer back to just "stay in touch". And that ISN'T a reason at all.
I was speaking with my "Joan" the other day and she mentioned that she calls 3 customers per day. At first I thought "Wow! She is committed!"
Then I asked what she calls about. We pick up the conversation from there ...
"Oh, nothing in particular, just to see how they are going." She knew as soon as she said it she was holding the wrong end of the stick.
"How long have you been doing this?" I asked.
"About 3 months."
"Won a lot of business?"
"So why are you doing it?"
"I have to. Directions from above." As she looked heavenward.
I really can't think of a WORSE reason to stay in touch with customers - just to say "Hi!" I would argue both we and they are way to busy to have a casual chat over the phone.
So what do you do? Have a REAL reason to call, write, email or drop in!
The reason many businesses struggle with this is that they don't do their research. And that may be due to time (lack of), poor data capturing facilities or just a general lack of knowledge about the customer.
Whatever it is, it's FIXABLE!
Research will tell you quite a few things:
1. whether the customer is in a position to purchase again
2. what their attitude is to growth or consolidation
3. what they may be looking to buy
A whole lot of information that will add value to your call. IF you do the research!
So what could we call the customer about? Well, it's going to depend on the nature of your business but here's 5 I can think of:
1. Is the product/service working as you expected?
2. Do you have any issues with the product or service we could help you with?
3. The product/service we provided to you is due for a 3/6/12 month service, when could we drop by to make sure everything is in order?
4. I'd like your feedback on the process we took you through, when would be a good time to get your opinion?
5. You're a valued customer, I'd like to buy you lunch, dinner, a drink etc.
It's not hard when you think about it. But you MUST have a reason to call - the customer is busy!
Now, how does this increase your sales?
Well, directly, it may not. However, when you need a testimonial, or need to follow up with someone for further assistance, who are you going to call? Someone who knows you and likes you? Or a complete stranger?
Hint: the second option is far harder and more expensive!
So, what is Joan doing now?
Joan works for a financial company and each customer she calls, she makes sure she has something of value to the customer to offer. The customer is pleasantly surprised by the call but acknowledges it and the effort to make it.
Joan is slowly building a rock solid relationship that will be hard to break, easy to gain referrals from and earn a reputation second to none!
Start doing your research today and start making high value calls tomorrow!
Let me know how you go.
Bill James-Wallace is a Leadership and Management Coach based in Perth, Australia.
He works with private clients as well as in the corporate industry helping transform the leadership and management capabilities of senior executives.
His website contains other "How to Increase Your Sales" articles at http://www.resultdrivensolutions.com.