Unfortunately for you, the sell isn’t the end of things. Plenty is happening after you have sold a product. And the plenty that is happening isn’t something that you can offhandedly dismiss. There are a few reasons for this.
- Firstly, after you have guided a prospect through the marketing funnel and safely out of it, you don’t just let go of the new customer. Because what you want is the new customer to become a repeat customer. So after the first sale, you continue to communicate with them. You send e-mails informing them of new collections. With the data you already have on them (from the marketing cycle they have just come through and the purchase they have made) you now have a decent idea about what interests them and why they bought from you. You use this data to cross-sell, or to personalise your post-sale marketing strategies. At this phase you must also encourage them to engage with your loyalty programs. Remember, new customers are great to expand a business, but repeat customers keep the business alive.
- The post-sale period is not just important to retain new customers. It is very important in funnelling in new ones. The first most obvious method is to offer new customers a referral discount. They get a discount on their next purchase from you when their friends use their referral code and shop at your store. This way the new customer has a reason to return to shop with you, and they also bring with them another new customer or prospect.
- The other importance of the post-sale period is the customer review. No matter how honest or beautiful your messaging is, people are inherently suspicious of companies, marketing material and sales reps. But on the other hand they listen to what other customers have to say. In fact, they themselves go out to seek this information from other customers who have used your product and have ruthlessly honest opinions about it. In fact, even the people who shop from brick-and-mortars now base a good part of their decision making on online reviews. So if the people vouch for the product, your sales stand a far better chance. So customer reviews shouldn’t be brushed off as unimportant. In fact, brave the good and bad reviews – the good ones will boost your reputation, the bad ones will point out where you need to improve.
- Reviews will tell you what you’re doing right and wrong. As much as a good review is favourable, a bad one shouldn’t be smothered. Even the best of products get a bad review every once in a while. The best way to deal with the reviewer is to show concern and to respond to let them know you are interested in solving the issue for them. When they know you value their patronage a little more than the sale you made off them, they will be happier to return despite the small hiccup.
- If you provide excellent customer care, you stand to gain from the 90% of people who buy only from people who provide good customer care. Who would have thought, right?! It’s like trying to buy a car and having to choose between the fabulous car which doesn’t have a good service station, and the second car which does have a good service station. The customer wants to know that if somethings happens to the vehicle – either from wear and tear or because of an accident – they can get the service people to come on call, and then to fix their car. If their previous customers have been complaining about the bad service experiences they’ve had, the chances are it is going to scare off any new prospects. The same works with online retailing. As a sales or marketing person, this in turn means that you also need to draw back from closing bad leads. If you know your product definitely doesn’t meet their needs or expectations, don’t try to close the deal just to meet a sales quota. This does more harm than good. Moreover, you break the customer’s trust – one of the worst things to do. Sales and customer service need to work together. In fact, their strategies have to be laid out in tandem. Customer service – dealing directly with customers – will be able to tell Sales what pain points the user is facing, and how the product solved or didn’t solve it. This is gold information. It helps you know where you need to work and even helps align the sales and marketing strategies. So if you cultivate advocates – happy customers who generate referrals and great reviews – it helps set the company’s reputation strongly and establishes success.
So remember, a sale isn’t just a funnel that a customer comes out of; it’s a cycle that continues. And the real work starts after the sale has happened!