The Fine Art Of Follow Up by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC
Regardless of the type of sales, your company makes, finding ways to keep current customers and to build a base of potential new customers is critical to the success of the business. Having a way to develop a “follow-up” strategy allows you to thank a customer for a purchase, to send a reminder to a dominant customer, or to even reach out to a potential customer after contact with your business.
Follow up really is an art. If the communication seems too clinical or generic, it is likely to turn the customer away or simply be ignored. If it is too pushy or salesy, it will do the same. The key is in finding a way to connect on a personal level and provide information of relevance to the customer that keeps you and your company in their mind as a trusted, helpful resource and business.
Make it Part of the Process
It is a good idea for all sales to use the same type of follow up process. All sales reps should be using the same method of sending out follow up communication to keep things consistent.
An excellent way to work in a natural follow up is to send a thank you card or note with the invoice. A card with a handwritten thank you from the business is a nice change from today’s technology-focused communication. Include a couple of business cards and make sure the message encourages the customer to call with any questions or if the business can be of any future assistance. An email can be included with emailed invoices as well.
Some companies may also include a discount in the card or the email for the next purchase. Again, focus on providing support and assistance both now and in the future.
There is a window of opportunity before two weeks after the purchase to reach out to the customer. This can be done by phone, email, or even text, depending on the customer and the sale type. For services or larger purchases, email or phone calls are typically the better options.
In this follow-up communication, ask about satisfaction levels, service received, and if there are any questions about the product. Keep this short and end with a thank you and the invitation to call anytime for any assistance in the future. Depending on the type of product or service, and if it is a one time or ongoing need, consider asking for permission to call again in a few weeks to check in.
Using Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook can be an effective way to keep your name in the customer’s mind. Be sure posts are relevant and timely, and use analytics to determine what keeps customers engaged and what social media strategies are effective with your current customers and your target audience.