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Secrets to Getting Great Word of Mouth and Repeat Sales

By Bob 'Idea Man' Hooey |

One of the keys to long-term sales success is in developing a customer base that will order products from you again and again. The next step is to insure that the product or service you deliver to your customers, not only meets their expectations, but also far exceeds them. Even to the point of amazing them!

You must deliver demonstrated quality

Delivering a quality product that makes the customer glad they dealt with you, is not only the right thing to do; it is the real 'secret' to getting favourable product reviews, repeat sales, word of mouth recommendations, and customers who will likely buy your future products.

For most businesses, the cost of getting a new customer is estimated to be about 5-10 times greater than the cost of getting an order from a previous customer. This assumes that previous customers are satisfied with the purchases they have made from you. If not, you not only lose the 90% savings of having previous customers order from you, you also eliminate the most likely customers for your future products. Also the negative word-of-mouth can sink your sales career or company quicker than anything you can imagine.

That's why investing the extra effort to ensure you exceed the expectations of customers when they do business with you, may be the best investment your company can make.

Unfortunately, too many sellers fail to take into account the 'quality' of the product they deliver to their customers. Instead they believe it is OK to try to trick the customer into buying something shoddy or worthless, or something that the customer is going to regret buying after they've received it or put it to the test.

Better to have satisfied customers who tell how great your product is, than to have dissatisfied customers advising others to never do business with you. A dissatisfied customer can tell 10-16 people about their 'experience'. Not a pleasant result.

Steps to delivering quality and getting repeat orders

Don't over hype the product in the marketing material - Provide an honest description of the product, its attributes, strengths, weaknesses and potential applications. Make it easy for the customer to compare and judge the value.

Treat the customer with respect - Each time the customer comes in contact with you and/or your company, they should come away feeling well treated.

This includes all phone calls, emails, letters, and personal meetings. Make yourself easy to do business with by simplifying your process and the number of people who need to interact with a customer to take care of their initial or follow up concerns or needs.

Listen to the Customer Needs - If you are selling a high end product, and a customer calls to ask you questions, take the time to find out if the customer's needs are a good 'fit' with your product. Many times, it is better to say 'no' to a customer, and explain why, than to have a dissatisfied customer wanting a refund.

Being honest up front may cost you a sale, but will win the customer's respect. (Which can lead to future sales and referrals.) If your goal is creating repeat buyers, building on a solid foundation of integrity is the only way to long-term success.

Package the product well - If you are shipping a physical product, package it well. Just adding extra padding and using a heavier box can make a difference. There is nothing worse for an initial impression than receiving a package that is falling apart.

Include instructions - When the customer gets your product, they will want to use it right away. Make this easy for them to do, by including 'quick start' instructions showing how to quickly get the most out of the product. If applicable, include a training manual, detailed instructions, a video or DVD.

Include a cover letter - Every box you ship to a customer should include a cover letter thanking them for the order, and providing information on how to contact you should there be any problem or question with the order. The cover letter immediately reassures the customer that they are dealing with a company that cares about customer satisfaction and is 'there' to help them.

Include a discount coupon or bonus - One way to encourage repeat business is to provide the customer with a discount coupon good for the next order. This gives the customer a good reason to order again. (Offer a $20 off on next order coupon or a series of coupons). Staples did that this summer with a promotion that saved larger buyers up to 20% on purchases in the fall.

Include a listing or catalogue of your other products and services- If you have additional items or services for sale, always include a catalogue listing your options and selections. This shows the customer that you are well established enough to have other products or services. This helps establish credibility, trust, and can definitely lead to repeat business.

Include something extra in the box - When one company shipped videos, they always included a free resource directory, free report, free press pass, or some extra item that would be of value to the customer. They mentioned this item in the cover letter included with the product, and offered it as a 'thanks for doing business with us' gift. You'd be surprised how many customers would call to thank them for the free gift, and at the same time place another order (using the discount coupon provided). What can you include with your next order?

Ship it quickly - Don't make a customer wait after they order. Ship the quickest way possible, and if you can afford it, include or absorb the shipping.

Deliver a superior product - Make sure the major product, the one the customer is paying for, lives up to, and whenever possible, exceeds the customer's expectations. Creating a superior product starts with finding out what the customer wants, and then delivering it a manner they will enjoy using.

Listen to customer feedback - As you begin shipping your product, listen to what your customers tell you:

  • If you get calls because the product was damaged during shipping, then you need to work on better packaging.
  • If you get calls wanting to know how to use the product, then you need to include better instructions.
  • If you get calls about the product not being what people expected, then you need to either upgrade the product, or revise your marketing copy.
Keep in mind you main goal is to make the customer happy they chose to do business with you. If you can do that, then you will build a base of satisfied customers who will order from you again in the future. And that, as a sale professional, is a major step to building a long-term business.

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