There’s a general consensus in the sales world, that the art of the “follow-up” is the most important part of the sales funnel.
Yet for some reason, as retailers, we seem to forget we too, are in the sales industry, and once someone walks out the door, it shouldn’t mean the end of the communication (and buying) process.
Retailers around the world, have lost the art of communicating, especially once a customer left the store.
Even worse, for those that do follow up, it’s often with an email, which is impersonal. Last week we talked about how email can be the most personal staff member in your business, today let’s talk about when you should just pick up the damn phone.
Here are my tips, to Mastering the Art of Customer Follow Up.
- If you sell a complicated product, make it a procedure that the sales person follows up to answer any questions.
How many times have you been into a store, and the sales associate has handed over your receipt, with the platitude, “If you have any problems, give us a call”.
You know it’s not sincere, because heck, if you have problems, you most likely WILL call, to vent your frustrations.
Instead of setting up the customer to fail, how about you set them up to succeed, right away.
- When you DO call them, Don’t ask “did you like our product”.
The art of sales is to ask open ended questions. Asking did you like our product is not worth your time. It’s a simple yes/no, and your customer is already on the defensive. Instead try, talking about added features that they might not be using, the benefits of the product, and even explain some of the FAQ’s that you’re often asked. Doing this in advance, arms the customer with knowledge. And knowledge is power.
- Always ask permission to proceed
Onve you’ve psyched yourself up for this challenge, don’t jump in with everything you have. Always make sure you ask if it’s a convenieint time, know how long you’ll likely be on the call, and let them know that you’re calling to help them. THEN ask them if it’s ok to continue. Yes, you’ll get the occasional person who doesn’t want to talk to you, but if you’ve already primed them through the sales proess, that this is an added benefit of shopping with you, then they’ll be expecting your call.
You’re giving them a reason to allow you permission to follow up
If you feel squeamish at the idea of follow up, ask the customer if they would like a call in x days.
And if you hear a great snippet, make sure to ask permission to use it as a review or testimonial, so that other people will benefit from their experience.
Not every retail store is going to lend itself to customer call backs, but if you’ve nodded your head as I’ve been going through this list, or your brain has been triggered on how this would work for you, then take some time to go through what your customer journey looks like ynow, and how amazingly different it could be, if you mastered the art of customer follow ups.