Use Follow Up to Increase Your Sales
Improve Your Image in the Customer’s Mind at the Same Time
by Laura B. Poindexter
This week we look at follow up. What happens after your customer buys your product or service?
Research has shown that it is six times more expensive to sell to a new customer rather than an existing customer. The barrier of doing business with you has already been crossed and assuming the experience was a pleasant one, the likelihood that the customer will buy from you again is very high.
So why don’t we spend more time following up with our existing customers instead of chasing new ones? Probably because we are programmed to think about marketing as broad sweeping advertising and branding efforts instead of the low-cost guerrilla tactics that we know work. They just require a little more effort and a lot less money on the part of the business owner.
Follow up will continue to build your relationship with your customers and give you more opportunities to educate them about your product and ask for another sale. It will also give you the opportunity to offer complimentary products and services further increasing your sales (and profit) per customer.
So how can I follow up, you ask. Send a personal thank you note after the sale. If you are selling a high dollar product or service, it may be appropriate to send an anniversary note. For example, my mortgage broker sends me a card every April on the anniversary of my home purchase. These notes along with the business cards you include keep you in front of the customer.
Send a thank you note after the sale and offer a complimentary product. If you don’t have a complimentary product, partner with a credible business that does. You will provide a value to your customers and further be seen as the solution to their problems.
If you have a renewable product or service, follow up to remind them of an upcoming renewal, like an oil change, dental cleaning, or vitamin reorder.
Reactivate Inactive Clients
A great way to use follow up is to sell to those customers who have already bought from you, but have not been your customers in a while. Send them an offer to reactivate them as clients, either a discount, an invitation to a special event or just a note to let them know that you miss them.
Sometimes customers just get caught up in their busy lives. They may have been meaning to call you and your reaching out may be the spark they need to pick up the phone.
Should I send my customers a follow up email or a hand written note?
The answer to this question depends on your line of business. If you are an online business, it may be very appropriate to send your follow up communication via email. However if you are dealing in high dollar sales or consultant type relationships, there is more credibility in a handwritten note. Also, an email may get caught by the customer’s spam filter or simply lost in their Inbox. A handwritten note that comes via snail mail will most likely get opened and read and the customer’s perspective of your company will increase accordingly, especially if you are an online business reaching out to them in the offline world.
The most effective way to maintain successful marketing programs on a consistent basis is to systemize them. For follow up communication, take the time to create a standard follow-up note or email template. This will make it easier and faster for you to maintain your follow up program. When you are ready to write some thank you notes, you can sit down with your template and personalize the note for each customer.
Automating email follow up is much easier than automating a handwritten note program for obvious reasons and there are many programs out there to help you create these auto responders. An auto responder program will allow you to send many different follow ups during your sales process along with offers of complimentary products. The best part is that testing these offers in an online environment is easy to do and the results are quick to appear allowing you to test different messages until you find the one that generates the best response.
I hope you are now thinking of ways to create or improve your follow up program. Remember, these customers have already bought from you. Follow up with them to let them know you appreciate their business and increase your sales at the same time.