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Don`t waste your customers 6 June, 2007

Posted by varoom in Selling.
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When prospecting for potential customers, in your chosen market, your efforts could be wasted if you do not follow up rapidly with pertinent information.

Let’s say you visit a trade show and work hard at generating some interest from potential customers. What are they going to do next? They may visit your web site for more information, try to see what documentation they can download, or maybe even try to find out how they can buy your product. This means that you need to ensure that you can follow up business opportunities with the next stages of information for potential customers.

Too often with early businesses I see a poor or non-existent web site, no follow up information, no information on how and where to get the product. In these cases the best efforts of the business to generate these valuable sales leads are wasted due to inefficient or non-existent follow up.

The start-up business must analyse the whole sales process that’s appropriate for it’s marketplace, break it down into stages and examine how the company handles each stage. Ask yourself who/what/where/when questions relating to your sales process, develop processes, sales tools, contact flows and connections to ensure that the potential customer is directed along a predetermined path to buying the product.

The key questions to ask, when analysing the sales flow, are;

  • Who will generate the initial sales lead?
  • What do they need to help generate that customer lead, a flyer or promotional tool?

Afterwards what do you expect the potential customer to do;

  • Go to your web site or contact one of your distributors?
  • What will they see when they visit your site?
  • Will they get more information? If they go to a distributor, how easy is it to find more information there?
  • What kind of information is useful at this next stage? Maybe a datasheet or an application note, or customer testimonial?
  • The customer may ask for a meeting to see a full product presentation, tailored for his business, are you ready for that?
  • When you meet the customer do you have a structured approach to information gathering? Are you prepared, in advance, to ask all the necessary questions to efficiently satisfy the customers demand? One tool worth developing is a standard discovery document which asks relevant questions at every customer meeting to gather information.

When they come to buy the product, how easy is that process? Do some trials with simulated customers to test the flow. Are you an easy company to buy from?

Analysing the whole flow for a typical customer will yield benefits and provide insight into what kind of marketing tools you should develop to help drive your business.

Greville Commins

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