What if You Are the Best Choice?

Last month, we discussed some strategies to consider when you realize you’re not the right choice for a product or service that your prospect needs. It earned lots of positive comments and some people even indicated that they had never even thought about some of the strategies mentioned. 

So, this topic should be obvious – What if your business IS the right choice?’ Some of the brief 10 steps will be obvious, too, … but, some won’t. So read and heed.

  1. Thank the client and review the agreement and time line to make sure you’ll be giving them what they want and when they want it. I like a email or phone call for immediacy, but a hand-written note card for impact – really works.  
  2. Ask what other providers they were considering, unless they told you up front. This information will help you analyze the competitive landscape.
  3. Ask why they chose you, your product or service. You need to compare why you think they picked you with why they actually did. You may have focused your pitch on service when the client made the decision based on cost. This information will help you analyze your branding and brand promise. And, remember, your prospect’s perception is you reality.
  4. If you’re providing a product, give periodic status reports on design, production or delivery. Some type of project plan or Gant chart can be helpful.
  5. This is even more important with a detailed process or project. Your plan should include dates for regular client status updates.
  6. No surprises. Whenever you encounter a problem, communicate quickly. If it’s your fault, fix it fast but let the client know about it. If it isn’t your fault, analyze probable causes and likely solutions for the client and collaborate on fix. And fix it fast.
  7. If the client asks for changes in scope, timing or content, carefully analyze the impact the changes will have in cost and delivery. Quickly share this update with them. Seek approval or negotiate options.
  8. Lots of small businesses wrongly assume the job is done when the check clears the bank. Not so. Follow up in a timely manner to see how the product, service or project is working out and gauge their level of satisfaction. Depending on the scope or details of the deal, check in regularly. Hey, if my dentist can call the next day to see how I feel, so can you.
  9. Where appropriate, consider Customer Satisfaction Surveys, either created in-house or administered by a third party. If you can respond directly, thank them for their comments and suggestions. Periodically communicate the positive actions you’re taking to improve quality or service resulting from the surveys to your whole customer base. 
  10.  Create and launch a Customer Contact Program. It can include a grid or spread sheet with customer contact and current volume on the vertical axis and various ‘Customer Touches’ on the horizontal axis. Examples include holiday greetings, those notes checking in on how things are going, articles of interest to them, especially if you wrote them and links to resources or events they might find useful.

So, there’s a lot more to successfully interacting with customers when you win the business than simply thanking them and beginning work. These simple strategies will enhance your customers’ experience, help you win more repeat business.  

Happy Pitching!