Repeat Business

Generating repeat business by converting a single sale into a cash cow

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Generating repeat business by converting a single sale into a cash cow

Edited by Allan Britnell

Congratulations – you just made a sale! The customer trusted you enough to give you a try. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, having conducted sales training programs for more than 25 years, I’ve observed that gaining new customers also comes with bad news. Merely providing products or services as promised does not generate customer loyalty. Customers are too focused on their own lives and businesses to get excited about a single new supplier. All that effort that went into gaining that new customer and delivering on your promise often amounts to a single blip on your revenue screen.

Fortunately, by enhancing your customers’ perceived value of what they just purchased from you, you can leverage a first-time sale into a virtual lifetime of loyalty and referrals. Here are four ways to convert a single sale into a cash cow.

Mention the next phases

Some customers may stop buying from you simply because they’re not aware of your other products and services. That’s why when you’re putting together a proposal, it’s helpful to mention that – providing they are delighted with this “phase one” – then in future they might consider phase two and three (which you mention briefly). Resist the temptation to overwhelm them with all your additional offerings. You simply want to plant the seed that there are logical next steps available after this one.

Follow-up fast

Soon after the product is installed, contact the customer to ask if they have any questions about it. Also ask their opinion – things they like best about it. That kind of feedback is priceless when you talk with other potential customers. Then, a few months later, if there is some sort of scheduled maintenance or follow-up step the customer should be doing, call them to offer to help them with it. That gesture helps customers realize you didn’t just make a sale and forget about them. Chances are they’ll thank you for your thoughtfulness. That’s a great time to ask them to pass your name along to others who they think might benefit from your services.

Put your extra value in writing

If there’s a service that will be delivered over an extended period, provide regular written progress updates. During our home renovation for example, the general contractor would give us bi-weekly reports. The simplified spreadsheet showed the project’s actual costs vs. budget, along with a timeline showing the progress. With all the disruption in our home, it came as a pleasant surprise to receive regular reminders that our contractor was in fact under budget and ahead of schedule. Without those reports during the four-month project, as a customer, I likely would have just focused on the noise, cost, and inconvenience. Those updates made us feel good about hiring him two years later when we did our next renovation.

Provide a pleasant surprise

I’m not referring to buying your customers gift baskets or giving them trinkets emblazoned with your logo. Nothing wrong with those things, but the gestures that have more impact are the extras you provide that are part of your service that the customer doesn’t expect. A body shop that fixed my car’s door dent, not only washed the whole vehicle; they detailed the interior. Plus, they took the gear that was scattered in my truck and put it in a single cardboard box. Made me want to dent my door every six months! An HVAC specialist who fixed an air conditioning unit in our living room not only vacuumed the area he was working in – he also vacuumed the entire living room. I was hoping he could find work in the rest of house. You get the idea. Surprise customers with something visible that goes above and beyond the scope of the project. That’s when they’ll notice you, remember you, and reward you with their loyalty.

Bottom line

Notice how none of the strategies I mentioned demand a lot of time or money? What they do require is upfront planning, and the realization of how much they can pay off. My clients who incorporate these approaches report significant boosts in revenues, customer reviews, and referrals. It certainly beats putting in all the work required to make a new sale, and then being forced to hunt for a different customer.

Jeff Mowatt
Jeff Mowatt

This article is based on the bestselling book, “Becoming a Service Icon in 90 Minutes a Month” by business speaker, Jeff Mowatt. To obtain your own copy of his book or to inquire about engaging Mowatt for your team, visit JeffMowatt.com.


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