The #1 Sales Offense

June 21, 2010

By Adams Hudson

What’s the most important thing you can do after your customer makes a big-ticket purchase?   Hint:  it’s not “Which way to the bank?”  Or: “What other lucky person gets to talk to me today?”  It’s saying “Thank You.”

The biggest offense in your sales procedure is – are you ready? – nothing. Yes, I said “nothing” as in no appreciation, no follow up, no upsell, no continued service attempt, no letter, no nothing. Eventually you’ll be met with a “no thanks” on your attempt at a next sale.

It’s not just the words “thank you”; it is the act of thankful recognition that fails to be delivered. Research shows that 77% of big-ticket item purchasers are not recognized or congratulated after the sale. And we wonder why there’s a Customer Retention problem in contracting?  These follow-ups are not just polite; they’re necessary for building long-term relationships and referrals.

If you hope to survive, you can’t just “check off” your customers once you get their check.  Tell them “thank you” in a systemized way that maintains the relationship you just spent a lot of money and time to establish. Think of it as increasing the return on your investment. It’s pretty simple really.

Don’t just send a “standard” thank you card where you simply “fill in the blanks” with their name and yours.  Send a real letter or make a “happy call” (Were you pleased? Were we on time?).  Ask them to complete a customer survey. Anything that involves them in the furthering of the relationship is good.

One of the smartest contractors I know has a local florist send flowers in a company mug. This amounts to lots of flowers every month, lots of recognition, lots of happy ladies and appreciative guys… with one huge added bonus.

Do you think the florist has a customer list? Do you think he’d approve a mailing to this list introducing if not endorsing you and your service? We call these COI (Circle of Influence) letters and they’re one of the most powerful weapons in our PowerPacks but you can create your own. They work.

Just give your customers something they’ll remember.  After a big-ticket purchase, a $4 item may be the best marketing you can do. And it opens the door for many more sales and referrals.

To keep your customers, you must make regular contact after the sale. This can be done with a strong customer retention program that includes “thank you” calls or cards, customer newsletters, holiday cards, maintenance reminders, special offers, and small gifts.

And the best time to get that program started is with a “thank you” right after a purchase.  Your system sale is not the end of anything. It’s the beginning of everything else.

Adams Hudson
Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink “Creative Marketing that Works.” His company creates a full line of marketing tools for contractors including Customer Retention newsletters, Yellow Page ads, “turn-key” Marketing PowerPacks and custom copywriting. You can get a free subscription to his “Sales & Marketing Insider” by faxing your letterhead to 334-262-1115 with the request. Also check out www.hudsonink.com on the web for free marketing tips or call 1-800-489-9099 for more info.

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