To maximize your selling time, match the effort you put into making sales with what you put into keeping them. With a sound strategy for preventing canceled orders, you can help secure the sales you earn and, more important, show your buyers they made the right choice.
Sell thoroughly. If you're tempted to close at the first positive buying signal, remember that your prospect may have buyer's remorse later, which can end up costing you a sale. Make sure your prospects know what they're getting for their money, and after they place an order, go out of your way to assure prospects they made a smart decision. One Mercedes dealer celebrates customers' new car purchases by giving them a bouquet of long-stemmed roses and taking their picture with their new car. This special treat cements the buyer's decision, making remorse down the road a thing of the past.
Show your superiority. After prospects commit to buy your product, they may wonder what they're missing by not buying from your competitor. Make sure you show your prospect why your product is the best choice and how you can offer them more than your competitors can. Always project a winning image by looking neat and professional, knowing your products and knowing your customers' needs so that your buyers will be less tempted by competitors after they've agreed to buy from you.
Know the circumstances behind the sale. Some buyers cancel when their companies institute "austerity programs" that limit or prohibit employees' discretionary purchases. To hold on to your sale, you may want to carefully question prospects regarding such policies. If you do get a request to cancel an order, carefully weigh the potential value of the customer against the value of the sale. The easier you make it for a customer to cancel an order, the easier that customer may make it for you to sell to him in the future.
Offer reassurance. By staying in touch with prospects until the deal is consummated (and after), you reassure them that you'll be there for them later. Fax or email an order confirmation note along with testimonials from other customers that will bolster the buyers' confidence in their decision. Let them know how much their business means to you and that all the necessary measures are being taken to fill the order to their complete satisfaction. Spend some time building rapport with prospects throughout the buying process - the closer they feel to you personally, the less likely they may be to cancel their order.
Now, go find and retain new business...
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