Smart Small Business Owners Have After Sales StrategiesJuly 27, 2012 | By: Sean Murray
We all want to be successful small business owners. And that means being a Smart Small Business Owner. Part of being a Smart Small Business Owner (SBO) is understanding the importance of designing and implementing effective after sales strategies.
SBO’s know that it really isn’t about attracting customers. Keeping that pipeline of potential customers flowing is really just a basic cost of doing business. You can be pretty darn successful when it comes to attracting customers. You can be pretty darn successful converting those prospects into making a purchase. But what’s really going to grow your business isn’t only attracting and converting prospects into customers – it’s building strategies into your business model that pull another couple rabbits out of the customer hat: repeat and referral customers.
The term “After Sales Strategies” should not be confused with selling extended service or product subscription programs. Not that these aren’t something to consider as they both represent excellent additional revenue streams. It’s great to sell a customer a jar of face cream – it is even better to sell them a pre-paid jar of face cream for a year. It’s wonderful to conduct a home inspection for a client before they purchase a home – it’s even better to sell them a pre-paid seasonal inspection service.
However, that’s not the kind of “after sales strategies” we’re talking about. What we’re going to address here are a category of after sales strategies that do some pretty important things when it comes to growing your small business:
• Improve Customer Satisfaction
• Improve Customer Retention
• Increase Positive Word of Mouth
It Pays to Act in The Best Interest of Your Customer
But first we need to talk a little bit about exactly what type of “After Sales Strategies” we’re talking about here. Simply put, these are strategies which, from the customer’s perspective, are “freebies.” They’ve already pulled out their wallets and handed over their cash and then receive a pleasant surprise: the business they’ve already handed their money over to does something in their best interest without trying to sell them something else in the process.
Here’s a really simple example of how powerful after sales strategies can be.
You decide to try out a Greek restaurant you’ve never been to before on date night with your spouse. You order your meals and they’re pretty good. No complaints. The server is friendly and attentive. The décor is nice. You’re in the process of signing your check. You’re not overly wowed, but you might come back. Maybe, if you happen to be hungry and in the area at the same time.
And then you get a nice little surprise. Your server approaches your table and places two small cups of Greek coffee accompanied by two small, yet perfect squares of baklava.
You say, “We didn’t order desert, I’ve already signed off on the check.”
Your server says, “Oh, this is just a little treat with our compliments to top off your meal. I can put it in a box if you’re ready to go.”
You don’t even like baklava (but your wife does) and you’re not sure how you’re going to feel about Greek coffee. But there is one thing you’re sure of now – you’ll be coming back. There were those rolled grape things on the menu you’ve always wanted to try. When you show up at work on Monday you tell your friends about the great Greek restaurant you took the wife to over the weekend. Hearing about the free dessert, a few of them ask for directions. On Friday, a group from the office runs over to catch lunch.
That coffee and dessert was a simple, low cost, yet effective, after sales service strategy. As a result you:
• Were more satisfied
• Planned on making another purchase
• Told others about your great experience
All three of the above are certainly responses you’d like from your customers after they’ve bought from you. Which leads us to a great question all you SBO’s out there should be asking yourselves right now:
“What are some simple, low cost, yet effective after sales service strategies I can put into place?”
Article By: Annie
Sean Murray is the founder of deBanked, an 11-year veteran of the merchant cash advance industry, a casual Lending Club and Prosper note investor, the co-founder of Daily Funder, an alternative lending speaker, consultant, writer, and enthusiast. Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on twitter.