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Sale and Return: how to keep your customers coming back

29th Sep 2015
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If there’s one thing worth investing in, it’s your customers.  In particular, you may want to invest money, time and effort in attracting new customers. Vital as this is, though, there are easier and more profitable ways to grow both your top and bottom lines. And one of the easiest ways is to turn one sale into multiple sales, with little extra effort or cost.

Seem impossible?  Actually, it’s pretty straightforward.

1. Do a fair deal

Sometimes, it seems like the sales process is confrontational, with a salesperson wrestling with the customer to force a sale to happen. It’s a stressful and combative experience. But, as the very best sales people will tell you, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Instead of fighting with your customers, work alongside them. Put yourself in their shoes and do your best to strike a fair deal. That’s not to say that you need to lose money on any deal. Rather, it’s a case of not being greedy, being open and transparent, and trusting that the customer will behave similarly.

When this is done, something unexpected usually happens. Customers stop feeling as though they are being ‘sold’ to and instead feel like they are being well-advised. We’ve all experienced it.  When a genuinely good sales person guides you through the process of understanding your requirements, explaining all of the options and pros and cons of each, and gives you transparent pricing, you feel a wave of relief. You feel you can trust the salesperson person and feel dis-inclined to haggle.

In short, if you treat customers well and do a fair deal, not only will it help with this first sale, but you’ll find that they’ll definitely come back to you again for anything similar.

2. Follow up

Most sales people are encouraged to sell and then move on to the next prospect. Naturally, this means that existing customers are soon forgotten. However, taking a different approach results in great returns. Instead of forgetting those customers, make a note summarizing what they bought, when and why (these days this is easy with CRM systems).

Then, add a reminder for two weeks later to call customers and find out how they’re getting on. If they are happy with their purchase, they’ll be delighted that you cared enough to call. If they aren’t, they’ll be delighted that you called as long as you also take the next, and final, step.

3. No quibble exchange or refunds

If you discover that a customer has concerns, you must do everything you can to put it right. If you immediately offer a refund or exchange, that will instantly remove any anger. It also gives you the opportunity to find out why the product isn’t satisfactory.

If you find out that the product is deficient, you can inform the operations team so that they make sure that future products are fit for purpose (and you don’t lose future sales). If clients are using products incorrectly, you may be able to gently correct them, keep the sale and keep an even happier customer who will feel genuinely supported.

It’s easier than you think to keep your customers coming back. Whilst the above approach may seem time consuming or expensive, it will result in many more repeat sales. And, happily, it will also become one of your best new business generators, because your happy clients won’t be able to resist recommending you to everyone they meet.  And who wouldn’t want that?

Heather Foley is a consultant at etsplc.com, a UK-based HR technology and consultancy company

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