The three-letter word every sales rep is waiting to hear.
Because the prospect you’ve been carefully cultivating is no longer a prospect, they’ve converted, and they’re now a paying client. A customer.
What the hell are you supposed to do next?
Unfortunately, this is where far too many sales systems fall apart.
They’re so focused on the sales,
So, focused on getting a customer to say “yes” they forget about the next steps.
By all means, spring out of your rickety office chair to do your happy dance, get it out of your system, you’ve earned it, and then get stuck into these critical next steps.
Stop selling, like, right now
If you’ve still got the customer on the line, you probably want to hold off on your dance for a few seconds, but you need to immediately, stop selling.
I get it, you practiced a full pitch, you’ve got all these wonderful features and benefits you want to explain, but the customer doesn’t want to hear you prattle on.
They’re already sold.
Once a customer says yes, and they’re ready to buy, you need to stop talking.
If you don’t, you risk not only frustrating the customer, but wasting their time, and potentially even “un-selling” the sale you’ve just made.
Take the hint, and stop selling.
Remember what you promised
Next, comes the delivery. It’s up to you now to remember what you promised, and actually deliver on every promise you made to that customer to close the sale.
No matter how small, or inconsequential you believe it to be, never renege on a promise you made to a client, or fail to deliver a certain part of the deal.
That’s a recipe for unhappy clients.
And unhappy clients can wreak havoc on your business. It’s a far smarter idea to simply honor your word, commit to being someone who lives up to what they say, and if you promise to do something, just freaking do it.
Start the onboarding process
With my business, the next step is onboarding.
And one thing I’ve realized is just how resistant we all are to change. People hate change. It’s an obstacle. We’re so used to the “way we do things” and the habits we’ve formed, and changing the behavior can be tough.
One quick win you can deliver here is an onboarding call. Kickstart their experience with your business by walking them through it.
Be a helping hand and show them exactly how to get started, where every resource is, the channels and avenues they can get help, and make it a nice, soft landing.
The easier you make it for a customer, the better their initial impression of your business.
Don’t give up your momentum
Want to know the best time to close your next sale?
Right after closing the one you’ve just made.
Yes, you may want to release your pent-up nerves and jump around a bit, especially if you’ve just landed a nice piece of business. But momentum is important.
I like to schedule my sales calls back-to-back-to-back.
Not only does this make it easy to plan my days around them, if I get in the “zone” I’ve found my win rate goes up considerably in the next set of calls (after I’ve made a sale).
Maybe it’s confidence. Maybe it’s mojo. Whatever it is, if I get right back on the phone and speak to the next customer, I’ve got momentum and I close even more business.
Stop for a moment to say thanks
This doesn’t need to happen immediately, but you need to get it done in the next day or two. Remember your manners, and take the time to say thank you.
Reach out to your customer, after the sale has gone through and say thanks.
Too many businesses are missing a personal touch these days, and if you want to start building a strong relationship with your customer, you need to talk to them.
Pick up the phone and check in. Say thanks. If you want to go the extra mile send them a box of candy, a handwritten note, or even a six-pack of beer.
You’ll win brownie points, but they’ll also appreciate you.
Be willing to ask for a referral
When it comes to the right time to ask for testimonials, there’s a nice window at the start of your budding client-supplier relationship.
They’re obviously happy with your product (they bought it), you’re checking in to say thanks and you may have even just sent them a thoughtful gift.
What better time to ask for a referral?
Make it simple, something like…
“Hey Mr. Customer, I’m just wondering. Is there anyone in your network who may benefit from a solution like ours?”
Your client may not have anyone in mind immediately, but by asking you’ve planted a seed, and it never hurts to ask. You never know who they might be connected to.
Ask them how it all went
Tied into the referral call is another I like to do on feedback.
I don’t have a system or a strategy to do this for me (skipping complicated NPS surveys and the like), I’d much rather just shoot a couple of quick questions on email or give them a call.
In short, I simply ask them how it all went.
How they’ve found the process, our solution, working with my team and get a bit of a temperature gauge on any issues they may have faced.
This kind of input, straight from the mouth of the customer is powerful, as it gives you an opportunity to identify any problems in your pipeline.
Plus, for genuinely happy customers, it sets the stage for a nice little follow up question,
“Hey, so if I typed up your comments and flick them back to you to approve, would you be happy if we used this as a testimonial?”
Most clients will say yes.
Consider any relevant upsells
Finally, the last piece of the puzzle.
With the new client happily getting the results you promised, you’ve actually got a window to best make any relevant upsells (research from Pitney Bowes found that 75% of all cross-sale opportunities happen in the first 90 days).
There’s a balance you need to strike here, and it will depend on your product of course, but if there is an additional upgrade, or an add-on product that could deliver even more results, set a reminder in your calendar and pitch them again when the time is right.
- Too fast, they’ll think you’re greedy and it can erode any trust they have.
- Too slow, and you risk missing the chance to strike while the iron is hot.
Use your best judgement here, and try to consider options that are a logical next step.
For my website agency, we roll big projects into our ongoing maintenance plan once they’re flash new website is complete. They get introduced to this service on the go-live date, and they get 15 days free.
Our records show 7 out of 10 clients go on to the maintenance plan because it is a no-brainer, and it’s far easier to upsell to a happy customer over securing a new client.
Find an upsell that works for you.
Ultimately, the trick to long-term success in your business is getting clients to love you.
They need to love the products you offer, the support you give, and actually like dealing with your business. If you’re focused on the sale alone, and none of the next steps, you’re going to struggle keeping clients around as the months go buy.
But if you can get it right, your clients become your champions, and will never even consider doing business with anyone else.
Keep up the great work,