What if Your Business IS the Best Choice
As a follow-up to last month’s article on what to do if your business is not the best choice to fulfill a prospect’s needs, this month we are advising you on what to do if your business is the best choice.
Last month, we discussed some strategies to consider when you realize you’re not the right choice for a product or service your prospect needs. We had many positive comments about the piece and some people even indicated that they had never even thought about some of the strategies.
So, this month’s topic should be obvious--What if Your Business IS the right choice? And some of the brief answers will be obvious, too. But, some won’t…so read and heed.
Step 1: Thank the client and review the agreement and timeline to make sure you’ll be giving them what they want, when they want it. I like an email or phone call for immediacy, but a hand-written note card for impact really works.
Step 2: Ask what other providers they were considering, unless they told you up front. This information will help you analyze the competitive landscape.
Step 3: Ask why they chose you, your product or service. You need to compare why you think they picked you with why they actually selected to work with you. You may have focused your pitch on service when the client made the decision based on cost. This information will help you analyze your branding and brand promise. And, remember, your prospect’s perception is your reality.
Step 4: If you’re providing a product, give periodic status reports on design, production or delivery. Some variation on a project plan can be helpful.
Step 5: This is even more important with a detailed process or project. Your plan should include dates for regular client status updates.
Step 6: Make sure there aren’t any surprises. Whenever you encounter a problem, communicate quickly. If it’s your fault, fix it fast but let the client know about it. If it isn’t your fault, analyze probable causes and likely solutions for the client and collaborate on fix. And fix it fast.
Step 7: If the client asks for changes in scope, timing or content, carefully analyze the impact any changes will have in cost and delivery. Quickly share this update with them. Seek approval or negotiate options.
Step 8: Lots of small businesses wrongly assume the job is done when the check clears the bank. Not so. Follow up in a timely manner to see how the product, service or project is working out and gauge their level of satisfaction. Depending on the scope or details of the deal, check in regularly. Hey, if my dentist can call the next day to see how I feel, so can you.
Step 9: Where appropriate, consider customer satisfaction surveys, either created in-house or administered by a third party. If you can respond directly, thank them for their comments and suggestions. Periodically communicate the positive actions you’re taking to improve quality or service resulting from the surveys to your whole customer base.
Step 10: Create and launch a Customer Contact Program. It can include a grid or spread sheet with customer contact and current volume on the vertical axis and various ‘Customer Touches’ on the horizontal axis. Examples include holiday greetings, those notes seeing how things are going, articles of interest to them, especially if you wrote them and links to resources or events they might find useful.
So, there’s a lot more to successfully interacting with customers when you win the business than simply thanking them and beginning work. These simple strategies will enhance your customers’ experience, helping you win more repeat business.
Phil Stella runs Effective Training & Communication, www.communicate-confidently.com, 440 449-0356, and empowers business leaders to reduce the pain with workplace communication. A popular trainer and executive coach on writing, communication styles and sales presentations, he is also on the Cleveland faculty of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.