Written By: Scott Koepf, Vice President of Strategic Development – Cruise Planners
The sales process has multiple steps and each step has multiple aspects that can make or break a sale. One thing that is common through each sale is that you will be in contact with or conversing with your customer multiple times. While each contact will differ in terms of the content presented, there is an acrostic I recommend you use each and every time to review what you will be saying or sending to make sure it will lead to the result you desire:
F – Follow up
A – Accuracy
C – Content
T – Timing
Follow up is the requirement to reach the goal of each step in the sales process of getting to the next step. If you take the pressure off yourself to try to get to the credit card as soon as possible you and your customer will enjoy the sales process more. Each time you send an email or have a conversation with a client be aware of what the next step is you need to take and make sure you ask for a commitment to that next step in your communication. In many cases it may simply be the confirmation of the next contact. Don’t try to skip steps, just be clear what the action is that you would like the customer to make after this interaction. Don’t just send information or pricing or anything without a call to action. Not a request for money but the next step which is easier for the customer to agree to. By doing this you build in a follow up process into every step of the sales process.
Accuracy is very important in our competitive business. There is a good chance that your customer has been shopping and getting information online so you may only have one chance to show your professionalism and knowledge. Any misinformation or wrong pricing may lose the sale before it gets started. In todays world, product knowledge is important, but deal knowledge may be more important. Sometimes there are untold promotions and rate codes for just one ship and category so take the time to research what is the best option as it may be the primary reason you get responded to over your competition.
Content is what will attract the attention of your customer in a noisy environment. Your email will be invisible among hundreds received and your voice mails will be ignored unless you are creative and unique. You do not need to be verbose and write a novel. Actually, the opposite may be true. Try to craft short and compelling subject lines, email content and voice messages designed to do one thing – get a response. Make sure there is always urgency so the action asked for must happen right away. The more personal you can make the copy the better chance of a response. Obviously using the customers name is powerful but referencing information and details of specific interest to them will lead to a much higher response rate.
Timing may have the most influence of all as to your communications with your customers. Always try to exceed the expectations of when the customer thinks they will hear from you. Studies have shown that sales will go to the quick responders first. We do not have an exclusive product, so your response time and accessibility will play a major role in helping customers determine if they should do business with you. Make sure to use an automated calendar appointment system to contact your customers consistently and as promised. Just like the old political joke – Vote early and often, that rings true for reaching out to your customers – Respond early and often!
Most of your sales will take multiple connections and conversations before the deal is sealed so by checking that every contact meets the elements of a good F.A.C.T. check will bring you more sales – and that’s a fact!