Marketing departments invest thousands of dollars in client acquisition, teaching tactics and strategies to initiate first sales conversations. Inside sales department members are hired and trained to qualify prospects, then hand them over to the account executive team. More money is spent to train members of both teams about how to close business at the right margins.
Congratulations. You’re bringing new clients in the front door. But the problem is that just as many clients are going out the back door. The result is stagnant or declining sales due to your company’s reputation on the street.
There are several reasons for clients dropping your product or services. Here’s the biggest one I’ve observed in my work with clients:
There’s no on-boarding process for new clients.
Sales organizations know the importance of creating an on-boarding process for new hires, one that ensures success and helps the new salesperson feel a part of their new sales family. Apply this same logic to your new clients.
In most organizations, after the sale is completed, another department will work with your new client to install or launch the new service. This handoff to the other department is average at best. The sale is made and then the client is told, “Thank you so much for your business. You will be working with Marcia, our sales engineer. She will be reaching out to you to set up a time to connect regarding next steps. Thank you for your business.” And goodbye.
Apply your empathy skills and step into your client’s shoes.
What are they thinking or feeling? I’ll guarantee you they are starting to wonder about their buying decision. They have questions such as:
- Who is Marcia?
- Is she competent?
- Will I ever talk to you, Mr. Salesperson, again?
Avoid the pull of instant gratification; set up a formal handoff with the person that will be servicing your new account. I suggest a video call, as there is still nothing that replaces human interaction, actually seeing and meeting your new contact. Set clear expectations, including answering those questions, for that handoff meeting.
- Who is Marcia? – Tell your client that Marcia is a rock star! Remember, they purchased from you. They don’t want to think they are being handed off to the “B” team.
- Is she competent? – Oh yes! Let your client know Marcia’s credentials and expertise. Tell them that one of the reasons Marcia will be taking care of their account is to make sure they have an expert working with them to ensure installation success and great service after the sale.
- Will I ever talk to you, Mr. Salesperson, again? This varies by organization. Set the expectation that you will reach out two to three times within the next six months to make sure everything is going as expected. After two to three touchpoints, your client will be in love with Marcia and comfortable with the new relationship.
Stop whining that you don’t have time. I guarantee you such phone conversations and email contact take about 30 minutes. Not a big investment to keep a happy client that will repeat business and refer business.
Stop the revolving door of clients and focus on the back end of the sale as much as the front end.