This is the seventh and final article in my series analyzing the seven steps of the Track Selling System.
In previous articles, I analyzed the first six steps: approach, qualification, agreement on need, sell the company, fill the need and act of commitment.
In the last article, I described the sale "closing." However, making the sale does not mean your commitment to your customer ends. The final step, cementing the sale, will show you how to keep your buyer satisfied after the sale.
You may have heard the phrase: "Sell them and forget them." This characteristically unprofessional attitude is negative and self-defeating. It produces dissatisfied customers and no repeat sales. In fact, it often results in canceled orders and a bad reputation for the quality of your company and your professionalism.
One of your biggest responsibilities (and challenges) is helping your customer avoid buyer's remorse.
Let's suppose, for example, that you have just decided to buy a new car. You are filled with pride and can't wait to show your family and friends.
But what happens as you drive the car off the showroom floor? You might begin thinking: "Maybe if I'd haggled a little longer, the dealer would have dropped the price. Maybe I should have waited a couple months to see next year's model. Maybe I don't really need this car."
What you're suffering from is a universal syndrome called "buyer's remorse." Your prospects are no different. When it "hits" them and they realize that they have committed hard-earned money to purchasing your product or service, they too, need to be reassured that their decision was wise and makes good business sense.
How can you give this reassurance? It's very easy if you follow these steps:
- Review (with the customer) the logical reasons for the purchase or act of commitment. It is the logical reasons that make a sale wear well.
- Express your thanks for the order or act of commitment.
- Promise to provide any required follow-up action.
It is critical that you remember clients buy for emotional reasons and stay sold for logical reasons. In cementing the sale you must ensure your buyers are reassured they made the right choice.
People remain as customers less because they feel they understand your product or service, and more because they feel you understand them. Earlier when I referred to the "sell them and forget them" mentality of some salespeople, I wasn't meaning that it's always intentional. But in the quest for new prospects and new clients we sometimes "forget" to nurture existing relationships.
Cementing the sale is a continual process, not a one-time activity. And the first opportunity is obvious: Send a thank-you card! For how inexpensive it is and how little time it takes, why do so many salespeople neglect this basic courtesy?
After the thank-you card, call them! Show a genuine interest. Ask how they are and if they are satisfied with their purchase. If salespeople call customers to make sure there is satisfaction, it puts them in a much different position than if they receive a call from a customer and have to react to it.
Whenever possible, add a personal touch that shows you know what interests them. For example, if your customer is a photography buff, you might clip out a magazine article on photography, attach your business card, and mail it with the note, "This might be of interest to you."
Cementing the sale well firms up your success in personal plans and business. It opens up future opportunities. It establishes long-term relationships and creates a resource for prospects, which is what successful companies are all about. The salesperson that continues to serve, deserves.
For the final time, lets see how Gerri of Happiness is Hawaii Tours uses the final step to cement the sale with Dick.
- Gerri: "Dick, I assure you that you've made a great choice about coming with us on a Happiness is Hawaii tour. In fact, I'll call you with the name of the tour guide who will meet you at your first stop in Hawaii so you'll know who's in charge of the first leg of your trip. (Promise of follow-up action).
"I appreciate you taking time to really talk with me and let me know what you wanted in a vacation, so that we can have you as one of our satisfied customers who returns year after year. (Giving thanks)
"As you said, you were looking for a vacation that would become a family tradition, and I'm confident that you will want to go back year after year. Because of the history that Hawaii brings to us and the individual planning that gives you freedom as your children's interests change, many families never have to shop the others' choices. They call Happiness is Hawaii first. I know you made a great choice. (Review of logical reasons for purchase).
"Now, you'll receive your flight arrangements and travel documents within two weeks. Also, a week before your scheduled departure -- probably before the second week in December -- you'll receive an itemized itinerary for each family member. It will list the places where the guides will meet you, dinner choices, and the time line for picking your preferences.
"If you have any questions between now and then, please call me. I'm usually in the office until about eight o'clock at night, and I'll be happy to answer any questions you or your family have. I'm looking forward to hearing from you when you return from your vacation. Call me and tell me how it went. And if you're anywhere near our office in Century City, please stop by. I would like to meet you in person. Dick, thanks for the time and have a great vacation." (Expressing thanks).
Dick: "Thanks so much, Gerri. I'll let you know it goes and I do hope to meet you."
Roy Chitwood is an author, trainer and consultant in sales and sales management and is president of Max Sacks International, Seattle.