by Lisa Terrenzi
Let’s take a look at what critical action, when missed, causes sales teams and salespeople to miss quotas and lose income for their companies.
Interestingly, that action starts with the close, which is where too many salespeople think the sale ends. In a shallow look, it makes sense. We won! The customer bought the product or service! We got paid! I got my commission! Woo-Hoo! Let’s go party!
Okay, let’s hold on here, and take a step back.
At the point the sale closes, your new customer has not had a chance to use their brand new product or service, or it might not have even been delivered. Once that delivery occurs, they might have questions. Or worse, there might be an issue with the product or service—it does not work quite right, or (in the case of a service) they are not able to access it.
In such an instance, who is your new customer going to call? Well, who was the last person at your company they had a great relationship with? That would be you, the salesperson, of course!
Only you are not available. For you, that sale is over. You have celebrated and moved on to your next deal. The last thing you want is calls from your new customer having problems with the product or service. So, you refer them to customer service or support.
But the customer service or support person is not someone they have dealt with before. Customer service does not have a relationship with your customer.
Such an approach—unfortunately, one taken by far too many companies today—can leave the customer feeling very “left out in the cold.” Think about it: they had this warm, friendly series of conversations happening, which resulted in them purchasing a product or service they really needed. Then they got it, and it does not do what they expected. They call in, and instead of talking to the person they had this great relationship with, they are shunted over to someone they have never spoken to, who they do not know.
At best this can result in a customer who is serviced by your customer support team but is still a bit annoyed that they did not get to talk to someone they knew. At worst, it can result in a terribly upset customer who ends up canceling the sale.
Okay, let us start all over and see how it should actually go.
At the end of the sale comes the close. But at this point, something else must occur which will make it a true win-win for both the salesperson and the customer. And that is, all the necessary paperwork and logistics are completed to successfully transition the prospect over to be an actual customer, and (here is the important part) start the delivery process.
The transition of the customer to your delivery team with all details is critical so that the delivery exceeds the expectations you have communicated during the sales process.
It can happen that delivery does not go well or has problems. But if this final step is truly completed—the transition of the prospect to the delivery team—the new customer will not keep bouncing back to you, the salesperson. That is because the transition if done right, is conducted with both the salesperson and the delivery team representative present. That way there is total agreement on what will occur during delivery between the salesperson, the customer, and the delivery representative. The delivery person in charge of that customer’s account should emphasize that if there is a problem, the prospect should call them.
The end result here is that the delivery person in charge of the customer’s account takes full responsibility for that customer and that customer’s service. In this way, the customer, if they have an issue, will maintain their communication with the person now in charge of their account. If you fail to have someone in your delivery team fully responsible for that customer account, it will always come back to the salesperson, and this will interfere with your future sales.
What else does this smooth transition accomplish? It brings the customer into the next “C”—Customer Relationship. A fantastic customer relationship means that:
• The customer will be happy with your product and service and will not be going anywhere else.
• You will make future sales with that customer.
• That customer will be happy to provide referrals to you.
Transitioning the customer from the close to the customer relationship is almost as important, or maybe even more important, than the close itself.
Note: There is far more to learn about establishing a customer relationship. Become an expert by signing up at SELLability.com.