I can still hear my high school office practice teacher, Mr. Kimball, saying, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” If you knew how far back that was, you’d be impressed with my memory. There isn’t a sales person breathing that would disagree with Mr.Kimball. You pick up the phone; dial and you have about thirty seconds to make a first impression that will garner you a second conversation.
Being the professional that you are, you are prepared, you’re in the zone, and you score the coveted invite to a second conversation; that’s great. Now what? Now is the time to start thinking about what your last impression will be. The fact is, when all is said and done you will be remembered for one of two things; the problems you solve, or the problems you create. Closing a deal is one thing, but getting the yearly renewals is another.
Make or Break Practices
Deal Breaker: False promises about your product’s capability.
Renewal: Be upfront about what your product can and can’t do. Customers rarely expect all or nothing. If your product is a fit for them, they will be content with knowing that their suggestions will be considered for future updates.
Deal Breaker: Hidden costs.
Renewal: No surprises. Present a contract that puts every cost in plain view, before the deal is closed.
Deal Breaker: Failing to call when you say you will. Slow response when a message is left. Being unreachable.
Renewal: You are accessible. You promptly return calls. You follow through with your promises to call on a particular date, at a set time. If something truly unavoidable gets in the way, make amends – starting with an apology.
Deal Breaker: Giving insufficient training on the use of your product will lead to buyer’s remorse.
Renewal: Thorough, patient training in the use of your product where you invite all questions, arrange hands-on learning time, and work through the customizing of your product with the customer – until they are both satisfied and comfortable.
Deal Breaker: Once they pay the bill consider your job done.
Renewal: Regular monitoring during the trial periods, and an open line of communication that spans the years you maintain the business relationship will prove to be worth the effort.
Deal Breaker: Failure to keep your customer’s business confidential.
Renewal: Unflinchingly protect every confidence; no exceptions; no excuses.
Best Practice : Aim for more than a sale; aim for a long-term business relationship. Never forget that whether you are remembered for solving problems or creating them – your customers will spread the word. Make sure your last impression, be it at the end of a phone call, or the end of a subscription, is one that you can be proud of.