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It doesn't matter who you are, what you sell or where you sell. Further, it doesn't matter if you're actively selling or making sales happen away from the front lines. There are a number of things that make business tick:
Some still count on their manufacturer's brand or their 'book of business' to bring in customers. If you can still enjoy that luxury today, count yourself as extremely fortunate. For most businesses, that's not the case. But, it's not as difficult as many make it.
A few things are paramount and undeniable:
Simply put, consumers want a reason to connect. The number one active failure is follow up, bar none. When you tell someone that you'll call them back in 30 minutes, keep your word. When you say that a customer will be taken care of, it's your job to ensure that (and be careful because their understanding of what that means may be dramatically different than yours!). If a person understands that something will be replaced, delivered or set aside, do it!
More and more, I find that follow up is atrocious. You'd figure with fewer sales, dramatically less people visiting businesses and more time to do the proper things, we'd be getting it right. It comes down to driving effective results, which comes from setting expectations and delivering! If you don't have good follow up you're dead. And not just an alert in your CRM...really do it!
Many time, follow up is the job of a customer service department or a BDC. No matter what, whoever handles follow up represents the whole company. I've heard it many times that a salesperson will excuse a customer's opinion or experience because "customer service did the follow up, not me". News flash: you're deaf, dumb and blind if you believe that.
Yes, first impressions are lasting ones. But the last impressions may be all for many consumers today and that could severely impact your business. If you don't leverage software or other technology, have reminders and build a plan (and cushion) into your day every day, you are in for a rude awakening.
Think about these things:
Make follow up a critical part of your business plan and do it right. It's not someone else's responsibility, it's yours. Or else it's someone else's business! And have a purpose to succeed.
No purpose --> No goals Know purpose --> Know goals
Best practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results