Too many salespeople find themselves running on fumes when it comes to prospects. “I get up every morning and ask myself the same question: Who am I going to talk to today,” said a life-insurance salesperson who had been in the business for 30 years. He’s far from alone.
Closing sales is the goal, but that takes keeping the prospect tank full of gas. So, what can you do about it? If you go to the supermarket, there’s someone giving away free samples. If you watch what’s going on, some of those taking samples buy the product. It’s the same with sales. When you do something nice for prospects and customers, they want to return the favor.
Here are 17 ideas for getting a positive response from customers and prospects:
1. Send a $5 coffee gift-card. It can create a feeling of obligation. Here’s an example — Attach a note: “Sorry we couldn’t get together for coffee as planned. Will call you and arrange a time to meet.” Be sure to keep some gift-cards handy.
2. “Thanks for your complaint.” When something goes wrong (and it always does), don’t be defensive. Surprise the customer by taking ownership. It creates an opportunity for a conversation, resolving a problem, and turning an unhappy customer into an advocate.
3. “We appreciate your help.” When someone does something nice for you, say so. For example, your message might go something like this: “Thank you for thinking of us. We want you to know how much we appreciate your referrals.”
4. “Thank you for your business.” This is so basic it shouldn’t be necessary to mention it, but online retailers have raised the bar; they know the value of showing their appreciation instantly. Here’s the point: when people spend their money, they like being noticed.
5. After-the-sale gift. When consumers make a significant purchase, they’re excited and proud because it’s the result of thought and planning, sometimes for years. It may be a major home improvement, a vehicle, or a new house. Sending an appropriate gift creates enormous good will, which can result not only in future business but also in referrals.
6. Ask for help. Often, customers can have an “after-the-sale” let down. Help avoid it from happening by asking for their help. After letting them know how much you appreciate their business, ask for their advice. “I want to do my best for my customers. I would value your opinion of what I can do to improve serving them.”
7. Surprise customers. Nothing gets a more positive response like answering calls, messages, questions, and inquiries super-fast. People unconsciously judge us based on the speed with which we get back to them. It says they’re important.
8. Contribute to a customer’s favorite charity. Do it, not because you’re asked, but as a spontaneous expression of appreciation.
9. Stay in touch regularly. Call it your “continuing cultivation” program. You never know what might be coming up next so you want them to think of you. Make it helpful and friendly — no sales pitches, please.
10. Need help? We can all benefit from a helping hand now and again. Let customers know you’re an available resource for discussing a problem or offering advice.
11. Send a value reminder. Choose a good time after customers have made a purchase to remind them why they made the purchase and ask them how it’s working out for them.
12. Give customers “solve the problem insurance protection.” Let them know that you’re their advocate and you want them to contact you if they have an issue or need information.
13. Offer helpful information. Keep your eyes open for articles, blogs, and videos that customers and prospects may find useful. It’s a good way to let them know you’re thinking of them.
14. Send important reminders. Even though there may be an app for that, it’s easy to forget about expiration, renewal, and due dates. Giving customers a heads-up lets them know you’re thinking of them and that they can rely on you.
15. After-a-meeting follow-up. Whether it’s a customer or a prospect, send an, “It was great getting together with you” message. To give it more impact, include something personal that the person mentioned during the meeting.
16. Remembering life events. Anyone can do birthdays, but it takes awareness to recognize other meaningful occasions such as a new job, a promotion, a significant accomplishment, anniversary, new home, birth of a child or grandchild, graduation, wedding, or loss of a loved one.
17. Something new or different. Most of us like to know about what’s new. If you have a new product or service, or have made a change, let customers in on it. Make it friendly and let them know how it can benefit them.
To keep your sales gassed up, keep pulling customers and prospects closer to you. Some salespeople may see it as taking too much time, while others will start and give up. Ignore them and keep moving forward.
John Graham of GrahamComm is a marketing and sales strategist-consultant and business writer. He is the creator of “Magnet Marketing,” and publishes a free monthly eBulletin, “No Nonsense Marketing & Sales Ideas.” Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or johnrgraham.com