After you’ve worked hard to get the sale, establish trust and deliver a high-quality solution to your client, what next? Here’s a simple after-sales process every soloist can use to generate more work.
We all know that great clients give great referrals. We know that asking our clients for feedback can provide the clearest insight into how we and our business is viewed and quite frankly, whether we’re doing a good enough job. By not asking for this insight we can move forward blissfully unaware of our shortcomings until one day we realise that the referrals are not coming in and our business is slowly seeping away.
How do you manage the after-sales process in your business?
Is your approach a bit haphazard? Just a quick email, asking for referrals? Or an annual client survey asking for feedback?
In 2016 this simply isn’t enough. You’ve worked hard for your client, it’s time to give them a big fat hug.
“For many business owners, after the sale mostly becomes an afterthought.”
As with all my business, my after-sale process is systemised. This means I get big gains for little work. How do I do it?
1. Happiness call
The day before sending the invoice I make my happiness call (yep – that’s exactly what I call it). Is my client happy? Have we completed everything we set out to? Did we meet expectations? Is anything outstanding?
Making the call before my clients receive their invoice means my invoices always get paid on time, invoices are not disputed and I know this particular project is completed.
* If you have a high volume business making a call to every client will not be feasible however an automated email can also achieve a similar result.
2. Testimonial and referral request
A day after making my happiness call I send my testimonial and referral request. I have a (pretty awesome) email template which gets sent by my VA. I have simple questions to help the reader quickly develop a testimonial and one click instructions on how to send it. As I’ve already established they’ve been happy with the work we did together, my request for referrals almost always garners new work.
3. Client survey
A few days after the testimonial request, I send my client survey. Again, this is a template email with a link to an online survey form. I’m upfront and tell them how long it will take so there are no surprises and assure them they don’t have to sign up or log in. Asking for client feedback after every project means if there’s a problem (or a perceived problem) within your business you can fix it immediately instead of waiting for those annual survey results. I also find that because working with you is fresh in their mind you get a higher take-up rate.
4. Send a card
My sweet spot, (the time where clients are seeing the most value after working with me), is around 30 days after the project is complete. At this stage I send a hand written card. It takes me just a few minutes to write and I know the value is 10x higher. Really, when was the last time you received something nice in the mail? It’s an awesome way to reaffirm the relationship, and personally, I feel it’s a nice touch. Work out your client sweet spot and bulk buy some funky cards.
5. Add to three- month call list
At the end of this process my VA will then add the client to my three- month call list. This is simply a quick call that I make to check in and ask how everything is going. I make these calls over the course of a couple of weeks when I have a little down time, am driving between meetings or even waiting for my coffee. These calls allow my clients to ask for advice, allow me to share a quick tip and almost always results in more work.
Systemising your after sale tasks and applying them to every client project is a simple way to ensure no client is forgotten and you don’t forget! The steps will be automatically in your task list and as the emails are already written, it’s a two-minute action to send.
I’ve worked with many businesses that would have easily received more work from me but didn’t, because they simply walked away. Don’t be those businesses!