When you make a sale, you feel great. However, your work is not over. Instead of looking at a sale as your end-goal, try to build long-term relationships in which you can help your customers in a variety of ways.
Your customer came to you to take care of a specific need. But customers have many needs. In the case of B2B, their businesses are growing, changing and evolving all the time, introducing new needs continuously. In the case of B2C, they lead multifaceted lives with an array of lifestyle needs. The more that you can help your customers navigate the right path to their success, the more sales will come your way. It’s a win-win: you help your customers succeed, and in turn they help you succeed.
In the spirit of helping your customers to succeed, what else can you offer them beyond their first purchase that they would find useful? If you are a consultant and they hired you for a defined project, perhaps they might need consulting for a different part of the business as well. If you sell products for pets, perhaps you offer complementary items to what’s been purchased.
Think about Amazon’s recommendation engine. When you review a book, the site lists other books that were purchased by people who bought the book you’re currently viewing. You can try something similar in your business, clarifying solutions that would benefit your customers even before they might realize it themselves.
Transform your idea of sales. Beyond a one-time sale, what does your customer need on a recurring or ongoing basis? This could be something they need annually, quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily or all the time.
Returning to the same examples as provided earlier, if you are a consultant and your customer hired you for a defined project, perhaps they might need ongoing consulting, education or training as well. If you sell products for pets, perhaps you offer a product-of-the-month club or automatic replenishment service.
If you provide a service and typically charge per project, consider altering the structure of your offering from project-based to ongoing retainer service. Imagine that a typical consulting gig brings you $10,000 in revenue. With an ongoing retainer service at $5,000 per month, you turn $10,000 into $60,000 of annual revenue. That’s a 500% increase in annual revenue for merely an adjustment to your service model.
If you provide a product, consider a subscription service. This takes you from a single sale to 12 sales annually, a 1,100% increase in the number of transactions per year.
For offerings that you feel might not be conducive to a longer-term commitment on the buyer’s part, get creative. Let’s say you are offering gutter cleaning services that are typically needed only twice a year, in the spring and autumn. Instead of making one-time sales over and over and over again, you could offer a subscription to your service so that customers would be assured that even if they forgot, their gutters would get cleaned automatically in the spring and autumn. This changes the sales dynamic from chasing after customers twice a year every year, to a predictable, reliable and increased project load and cashflow.
Follow-ups and Check-ins
Whatever you do after the initial sale, it’s important to follow-up and check-in with your customers. Solicit feedback on the products or services you’ve already provided. Learn how you can better serve their needs. See what they liked best about your offering. See if they would like to continue or increase the volume of what you are delivering to them. Explore the various ways that you can them be more successful in whatever they are trying to achieve.
Instead of random follow-ups, create a calendar where you can add value with each interaction. Have a number of questions for your customers so that you can understand new, unmet needs that may have arisen. Understand where they are trying to get to, and find opportunities to remove roadblocks for them.