Once you push your prospect over the edge and get them to commit to a sale, the first thing you need to do is to… sell them some more. Stop. You might be thinking that we are getting too aggressive or hard sell, but you’re wrong. In fact, you should do this for the benefit of your consumer. Here’s why. The popular saying “The customer is always right” is not entirely accurate. Being the professional, in most cases, you probably know more about the product or service that you are promoting compared to your consumer. You probably have met with various challenges or unique situations regarding the use of the product or service which gave you more insights of how the product or service can be used best in various situations. So it’s your responsibility to educate your consumer about the availability of complementary products or services that might enhance the usage of the original purchase. We’re not suggesting you to force them to buy more things, on the contrary, we’re asking you to present a comprehensive solution for their benefit. If you don’t, in reality, you’re doing a disservice to them, as well as to yourself. Whether your consumer decides to choose the comprehensive option or stick with their original purchase is up to them. But at least you have fulfilled your obligations of presenting them the various possible options.
Why present the other additional, more comprehensive options only after your buyer has made the commitment to buy the original purchase? There are two reasons for this. First, you don’t want to confuse them with too many options in the first place. Research has proven that when a prospect is presented with too many options, sales conversion dropped. So instead of trying to sell everything under the sun right at the start, focus on just the most relevant solution for them first. The second reason to sell them right after they made the initial decision to purchase is ideal timing. You’ve heard of the saying “Strike while the iron is hot”. Well, in sales and in business, the iron is hot when the prospect just bought. Many studies have shown that when buyers made the initial commitment, no matter how small, then it’s much easier for them to make a larger commitment. This means that after making their initial purchase and then presented with a more comprehensive option, they will have an easier time to appreciate the value of the additional options. Fast food restaurants are great at using this technique. After you’ve ordered your meal, the first thing the person at the counter will ask you is “Do you want to upsize?” after you answered that, the next question will be “Do you want a sundae to go along with it?” It’s been proven that just because they ask, consumer’s spending increased significantly. You’ve probably experienced it yourself. You were not planning to indulge on a sundae, but when they asked, you said yes. Now, did you feel you were forced to buy the sundae? Of course not. They were just providing you with the option. You made the decision. Similarly, in your business, you should always provide the option for people to upsize. Following is a great example.
During the SARS period, Thomas created an additional service to meet the demand of the market—GermBusters. Everyone was very concerned about the highly infectious and deadly nature of SARS, including businesses which were affected by the significantly decreased traffic. “We had many different businesses that came to us for our various solutions against SARS. Hotels, hospitals, clinics, offices and even entertainment venues like KTV lounges were coming to us for solutions. Initially we were only providing the air steriliser that can kill all kinds of bacteria, germs and viruses including the SARS virus. This can help reduce the possibility of transmission drastically. But then we realised that we were short changing our clients by not educating them about other precautionary measures. So we came up with a comprehensive packaged solution that included the air steriliser, the GermBusters spraying, the hand sanitisers and other value-added products. After people have gone through the comprehensive package and the venue was sterilised, we then put up a sticker that stated the venue has been sterilised by us. This helped boosted their customer’s confidence as they knew the place was safe.
“Of course not everyone took up the comprehensive package. There were some people who only wanted the air steriliser. We just did our best to educate them on why the comprehensive package provided a more complete protection. Then we leave the decision to them. I wasn’t surprised that we had about 70 to 80 per cent of clients who chose the comprehensive package after our staff provided them with the necessary information for them to make a better decision.” This is because in general the consumers understand value. And when you provide really good value, then they will beat a path to your door.
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is their lack of follow up. Any professional salesperson who is worth their salt knows that it’s common for prospects to need multiple contacts with them before they are ready to buy. Many have suggested that you should at least have seven times contact with a prospect before they will make a purchase. Whether it’s seven times or more, this proven statistic underscores the importance of following up. If you don’t follow up, you’re literally leaving stacks of easy money on the table. Just imagine that every time a new prospect says “Let me think about it” and you don’t follow up, you’re actually leaving ten thousand dollars (or more!) on the table and walking away. What do you think will happen? Someone else will simply come by and pocket it. Ouch! That’s exactly what happens in real life too. When you don’t follow up, your prospect will end up buying from someone else.
But following up doesn’t mean that you need to be a nuisance. We know there are a lot of people whose idea of following up is badgering the prospect for the sale. We hate that as much as any other sane person. Irritating your prospect should be the last thing you should ever do. So obviously that’s not what this is about. What we are talking about here is building a relationship with your qualified prospects so that they feel comfortable and connected with you. After you have built a bond with them, when they are ready to buy, they will naturally buy from you. Depending on your business, building a relationship can be as simple as keeping in touch via email and sending them some useful information periodically so you’re at the top of their mind. Or it might require more effort on your part such as spending some personal time with them. As a general guideline, the bigger the ticket item, the more personal involvement it usually requires. But we really can’t give you a one-fits-all prescription on this one. The most important thing here is to build the relationship. If you don’t, your competitors certainly will.
One of the best ways to build a relationship and keep in touch with your prospects is to create a database. You can create a database of all your prospects and a separate database of all your buyers. Yes, you need to build a strong relationship with your buyers as well, even more so than with your prospects because they have spent some money on you. In fact, the biggest asset of your business is your existing clients. It’s much easier to get a satisfied client to buy again rather than get a new prospect to make the first purchase. This is because your client already has a relationship with you and experience the service you can provide. Building a strong relationship both with your existing clients and with your prospects can have a positive impact on loyalty and profitability for your business. A study by Deloitte Research found that companies that are efficiently applying Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programme are 81 per cent more profitable than those that don’t. This highlights the importance of building stronger relationship with your target market.