Master Marketing R&R – Part One

(This piece first appeared in COSE’s ‘Mind Your Business’ in August)

 Time to focus on ‘Marketing R&R’— with every sale or engagement, savvy entrepreneurs ask ‘How can I earn repeat or referral business?’ The answer is easy to understand but hard to do. So, read on for ‘R&R’ best practices.

To Ask or Not to Ask?

Two schools of thought here. One says never ask for repeats or referrals. If your customers were pleased enough, they’d do it for you without being asked. To ask for them may even look immature, weak or annoying. If you concur, good for you. Stop reading now because I’m not going to try to change your mind.

I subscribe to the other approach, which says always ask because you always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. If you concur with me, then hang on for a fast ride.

Everything is Earned!

It’s not too hard to make the first sale with a customer. What’s much harder is proving your value and living up to your brand promise enough to make the second, third or fourth sale. So, winning the second sale begins with nailing the first one with these seven tips.

Nail the Sale Tip No. 1: Ask good questions and listen to what you hear.

Nail the Sale Tip No. 2: Summarize what you think customers want so they know you listened and understood.

Nail the Sale Tip No. 3: Be absolutely sure you can do what they want at a competitive, still make a fair profit and enjoy the process.

Nail the Sale Tip No. 4: Under-promise and over-deliver.

Nail the Sale Tip No. 5: Always thank them for the business at the point of sale and at the point of delivery if different.

Nail the Sale Tip No. 6: Follow up on satisfaction.

Nail the Sale Tip No. 7: Keep in touch … unless they ask you not to.

If you asked enough good questions up front, you should have a good sense for their needs going forward. In a separate email or phone call, ask when you can discuss other needs.

It’s usually with the same decision-maker/contact, but might involve:

  • The same product or service with a different end-user;
  • A different product or service with the same end-user; or
  • A different product or service with a different end-user.

If you learned enough from your initial conversations, suggest some next steps to consider. Be patient, follow up when they ask you to and think ‘yes’ until you hear ‘no’. But don’t confuse ‘no’ with ‘not now … not ever … never!

If you liked what you’ve seen so far, be sure to read next month’s Part Two, when we’ll focus on Internal and External Referrals and ‘Saying Thank You’. See you then.