After meeting a customer’s needs with your product or service, there’s a palpable level of excitement on both sides. As a salesperson, you’re thrilled with having successfully helped your customer, and your customer is excited to put your solution or product into action towards solving their problem.
Though exciting, this period of time after a sale is a time of opportunity that is often missed by salespeople as they begin setting their sights on fulfilling the next customer’s needs before properly following up with their current customer.By going the extra mile to ensure your customers know that you’re always there, always actively listening, and always ready to help, you make them feel cared for.
By understanding what after-sales follow-up is, how it impacts you and your customers, and what comprises an effective after-sales follow-up strategy, you can quickly begin fostering strengthened customer relationships, gaining referral sales, and improving your overall sales performance.
What is After-Sales Follow-up?
After-sales follow-up is when you, as a salesperson, contact your customer after a successful sale with the purpose of achieving a few key goals:
Making your customer feel valued
By making contact after the completion of a sale, you communicate to your customer that they weren’t just another cell on a spreadsheet or name on a call list. You instill within them a knowing that you care and you genuinely wish to be a help to them.
Over time, this fosters a relationship of trust and mutual respect between you and your customer, opening the door for future opportunities to serve their needs or those whom they might refer to you.
Ensuring your customer’s needs are met by your product or service
While your customers might share many common stressors or pain points that make your product or service valuable, their individual needs are still unique.
By ensuring that the solution you’ve offered is helping them solve the problems and stresses they had, you communicate to your customer that you’re actively invested in their success and stick out in your customer’s minds as a genuine source of help.
Answering any questions or concerns your customer might have
Even though the sale was successful, once the customer begins to implement your product or service, it might give rise to unexpected issues or raise questions.
For your customer, this can quickly turn an exciting purchase into yet another frustrating headache for them to deal with.
In your follow-up, ask if there’s any questions or concerns that your customer has had with your solution.
Even if everything’s functioning smoothly and your customer is still thrilled, ensure that they know you’re always available to answer questions and be an ever-present source of help should any issues arise.
Understanding how you might be of further service to your customer
During your follow-up and as you continue to build your relationship with your customer, always look for opportunities where you might be of further service to them.
For instance, your customer might be overjoyed about how much peace of mind they have since joining your company’s fleet vehicle maintenance program, but they might offhandedly mention how nice it would be if the insides of the vehicles looked and functioned as smoothly as the vehicle’s internals do.
By actively listening, you can take that opportunity to offer a friendly reminder about your company’s vehicle detailing service that might address that pain point your customer just mentioned.
From the customer’s perspective, they take notice of how intently you’re listening and how invested you are in being a continual source of help.
How does after-sales follow-up impact customers?
Following up after a sale isn’t just an exercise in polite service: It’s a tested and proven practice that has a measurable and profound impact on the experience your customer have with both you, as a salesperson, and your organization as a whole.
Customers feel that they matter and that you care for their needs.
Long on-hold times with horrible jazz music, rude representatives, and constantly getting the runaround from companies — We’ve all had terrible customer service experiences.
Sadly, companies and salespeople that go above and beyond to make the customer feel cared for are experiences that are becoming increasingly rare.
By going the extra mile to ensure your customers know that you’re always there, always actively listening, and always ready to help, you make them feel cared for.
With you, they don’t feel like just another number — they feel like a valued customer that has found a quality source of help and information in you.
Customers become more open to your suggestions.
By follow up with your customers, you communicate to them that you’re actively interested and involved in ensuring that their needs have been met and that you have solved their problem.
In today’s sales environment where negative or annoying experiences are more so the standard rather than the exception, you stand out as someone who is a source of genuine help to your customer’s personal or business needs.
Recognizing that you’re genuinely invested in their wellbeing, customers will look to you for help and be receptive to your recommendations and suggestions for additional products or services.
Customers begin to trust you with more business and offer referral business.
When you invest in ethically serving your customers, you’re not only building trust with them. You’re building trust with their friends, family, and other connections who might be looking for someone like you to meet their needs.
With effective follow-up, you’re opening the door to build new sales connections, service your customer by helping their friends and family, and continually demonstrating the quality of your solution, your company, and yourself as a salesperson.
What are aspects of an effective after-sales follow-up strategy?
While your organization’s sales processes might stipulate a specific follow-up methodology, or if you’ve honed your own specific steps for your follow-ups with customers, it’s important to remember the key tenets that comprise effective after-sale follow-up communication.
Knowing your customer’s preferred contact methods
Before setting out to contact your customer after a successful sale, first know how they wish to be contacted.
Your customer might detest phone calls or emails, and violating their most simple of preferences -- how they wish to be contacted -- can quickly begin to erode the trust they’ve placed in you as a salesperson.
Thanking your customer
A heart of gratitude is the foundation of your follow-up. Above all else during your follow-up communication, your goal should be to make your customer feel valued and assured in their decision to choose your company’s product or service.
Asking questions and actively listening
Your follow-up is the perfect time to get valuable feedback from your customer. Keep your questions brief — your customer’s time is precious — and stay focused on their needs. Key questions can include:
“Do you have any questions or need any additional assistance?”
“Were you happy with the product or service you received?”
“How might the product or service be improved?”
As your customer responds, be sure to make a record of their feedback. Did they comment on how shipping was slow and the product’s box was beat up?
Did they have a terrible experience with a portion of your sales process? Was there difficulty understanding how to operate or install your product?
All of these points of feedback are extremely useful both to you and to others in your organization who can take this valuable feedback and turn it into actionable insights that can be used in improving your organization’s product or service.
Asking permission to send helpful information and resources
Your follow-up communication is a great opportunity to further enrich your customer’s experience by offering them helpful information and resources.
Whether online, on paper, or any medium in between, if your organization offers content to help customers make more informed decisions or better use your solutions, the after-sales follow up is a golden opportunity to get that content into the hands of your customers.
Asking permission to do this, however, is crucial.
Many modern — and manipulative — sales practices promote using a never-ending deluge of spam emails, texts, and calls to advertise special offers and other promotions to current customers.
Uninvited and intrusive communications can quickly degrade the foundation of trust you’re building with your customer and can abruptly change their opinion of both you as a salesperson and the organization you represent.
How does after-sales follow-up help me as a salesperson?
Though designed to serve your customer first and foremost, thorough follow-up after a successful sale also positively impacts your career, your customer relationships, and your overall sales performance over time.
You set an ethical example, becoming a leader in your department.
By consistently exemplifying ethical sales practices and engaging in timely, customer-first follow-up after every sale, you position yourself to be noticed by management.
Over time, your dedication to going the extra mile for each customer will yield positive benefits as you stand out as an example of effective, ethical, and goal-achieving sales among your fellow salespeople.
You gain valuable customer feedback.
From the questions you ask in your follow-up with your customer, you gain the rare opportunity to get feedback directly from someone who engaged with the entirety of your company’s sales structure.
With the records of your customer’s feedback, you can ensure this valuable information is received by key decision makers in your organization.
Over time, exhibiting such a high level of customer-first dedication and commitment to improving the customer experience can potentially present advancement opportunities within your organization.
You strengthen your relationship with your customers.
By consistently placing the customer’s needs as the chief focus of your sales efforts, your customers will feel valued, truly heard, and will begin to place their trust in you and your organization.
You increase your sales.
Building trust-based relationships is key to optimal sales performance. Through your ethical sales techniques and customer-first follow-up, you instill a knowing within your customers that you are authentically dedicating to helping them first.
This level of trust creates not only repeat sales opportunities and long, fruitful customer relationships, but also opens the door to gain the business of your customers’ friends, families, and other business associates, as you’ve proven yourself a trustworthy source of information, support, and quality service.
Ethically Serving Customers is the Heart of Follow-up
At its heart, after-sales follow-up is ensuring your customers have received the best care and attention possible and treating your customers according to the Golden Rule.
How do you follow-up with your customers after a successful sale? Do you have any tips that have helped propel your relationships with customers and increase your referrals? We’d love to hear from you in the Facebook comments below!