For our marketing to be consistent and successful we must combine pipeline management with our marketing activities. They should never be separate. This article will present a key call we must make to successfully service our business and open up marketing opportunities in the future.
Single Call Can Improve Sales
Phone call shortly after settlement doesn't focus on sales
By DAVE HERSHMAN
December 20, 2003
The call should take place anywhere from three to ten days after settlement. Without exception. We should say three things in this call (not necessarily in this order):
- "I was thinking about you and I want to thank you again for allowing me to serve you."
- "I also wanted to make sure that there was not something else that I could do for you at this time."
- "I also would like some feedback as to anything we could have done to make the process better from your perspective."
Note the purpose of this call. It is to find out if you can do something for them. It is not a call so that you can get a referral. It is not can you refer me another customer? It is a call about them. You care about how they feel and you would like to help them even further, if possible.
Let's examine these three things. First, thanking them again. We say that great customer service indicates that we exceed our customers' expectations. We believe that the average vendor does not say thank you enough -- especially in person. So this is another chance to differentiate yourself from your competition by just being appreciative. Remember, customers buy from people that they like and we like those who are nice. And the number one goal of marketing is to achieve response by differentiating yourself from your competition.
If the answer to the first question is -- yes, you can do something for me -- then you must take action once again. We always talk about great customer service as delivering additional value. Something as simple as completing a task after closing could do just that -- especially since the average sales person will drop the ball. How many times have you purchased something such as a car, and the salesperson virtually disappeared after the deal was consummated? Once again, you are differentiating yourself from your competition.
What if the response to the last question is -- the process was terrible. Here is what went wrong. Then we have a customer complaint. Most of us do not hear enough customer complaints. That might seem like somewhat of a strange statement. After all, why would we want more complaints?
But the reason we don't hear enough complaints is not because we deliver on time, every time. It is because we do not ask how we did. Note that this is not a written survey -- it is a personal call to let them you know you care. It is also an opportunity to solidify the relationship (or rescue it) by taking positive, affirmative action. It is said that no relationship is solidified until something goes wrong. If everything goes right -- you have accomplished nothing extraordinary. So at this point, we ask you to listen, empathize, apologize and take action.
Remember that you can't reverse all complaints. But you can show that you care. For example, if the settlement was delayed, you can't go back and correct that. But you can find out how much pain was caused by this delay. And take some action to minimize that pain.
So, now that we have made the call, what have we done? If you ask a sales person what is the objective of marketing, he/she would typically say, to produce responses or leads. But the real goal of marketing is to provide the most effective responses. The most effective marketing produces responses from our customers in the form of referrals. We do that by differentiating ourselves from our competition -- in a positive way, of course!
What we have done is position ourselves to obtain referrals as well as testimonials. For those who are somewhat dissatisfied, we have demonstrated that we do care. The problem is that most of our marketing plans require that we call new prospects instead of making this very, very important follow-up call. We leave follow-up to surveys. Big mistake!...