Effective sales follow-up – The 5 simple steps | BDC.ca

Boosting your revenue with effective after sales follow-up


Finding new customers is crucial to the growth and success of your business. But entrepreneurs shouldn’t forget there is huge potential for revenue in their list of existing customers.

A sound follow-up to sales strategy will boost your revenues both from existing customers and from referrals to new customers.

“It costs seven times more to get a new client than it does to sell to an existing client,” says BDC Consultant Jennifer Galley. “Think of all the time and effort you put into the initial selling conversation, in order to get the client to say Yes.

The period immediately following a sale is what Galley calls “the honeymoon phase” when there’s a certain level of excitement on both sides. The client has just fulfilled a need or solved a problem; your company has closed a deal.

But this is also a vulnerable time. Your attitude in this phase can make or break the future relationship with the customer.

Here are 5 simple steps to effectively follow-up after a sale.

1. Say thank you

Some companies send emails. Others say it with a card they enclose with the invoice. Whatever your method, it’s important to say thanks after making a sale as part of making it a good experience for your client. “You’re letting him know he made the right decision when he bought from you,” Galley says.

Make sure to say: “We are here for you” in your thank you note. Include contact details and a person who should be contacted in case of an issue or question. Ideally that person should be the account manager or sales person who handled the transaction. “This is the person the client knows and trusts at this moment,” Galley says.

2. Check in

It’s a good strategy to call clients a week or two after the sale and find out how everything is going. Are they happy with their purchase? How was the service they received? Do they have any questions? But don’t overdo it. The customer’s time is precious. And especially, avoid trying to make a sale at this stage. Instead, listen to your customer’s needs and opinions.

3. Keep the lines of communication open

Ask your clients for permission to communicate with them. Then send helpful information and advice based on their needs and interests. Focus on high-value content, such as guides, articles or educational webinars. This is the phase of consolidating the trust between you and your client.

4. Think second sale

Once trust is established and you are fully aware of your client’s expectations, the stage is set to go back and offer a complementary product.

“You now have enormous opportunity to offer more products or services to the client,” Galley says.

5. Ask for referrals

Happy customers will refer you other customers. When a recommendation comes from someone who has actually used your services, it has an extra layer of credibility and trust. Delighted clients make the best advocates because third party claims of excellence carry more weight than self-promotion. For the most part, customers are willing to refer because they know how important referrals are and people like to help.

A post-sales plan should be a part of every company’s sales and marketing strategy. Here’s how the follow-up will help you.

  • Boost your sales—Happy customers are more likely to come back and buy more.
  • Increase customer retention—Satisfied customers are more loyal.
  • Generate customer testimonials and referrals—“If you can put a quote and a name to a client case, you can take that to the bank,” Galley says.
  • Improve your performance—Customer feedback will help you improve your products or fix service problems.
  • Innovate—By listening to customers’ needs and problems, you are gathering invaluable intelligence to create new products or services.
  • Differentiate—By following up, you’re doing something most businesses don’t bother with and that sets you apart from the herd.