Tuesday, September 9, 2008

How to Get Repeat Sales

The rainmaker in the old days was the person known for being able to summon rain at will to water the farmland centuries ago in the Native American culture.

Most people in sales know what it means to be the "rainmaker" in an organization. It is a prestigious title or nickname given to the person who consistently brings in the most sales in a company.

A closer look at rainmakers though will reveal that bringing in sales and keeping sales are two totally different things and the latter is much more difficult.

An entrepreneur will not be successful if they have a revolving door business. In this scenario, they have to bring in the same amount of sales every month and more just to stay ahead because they have no referrals from clients and fail to keep their existing clients on board.

Fortunately, the ability to not only bring in revenue from clients and maintain those revenue streams through repeat sales is a skill that can be learned.

Let's take a look at three key tips on getting and keeping customers.

Build relationships before and after the sale

Business is all about relationships. Selling has a lot to do with not just understanding your product but more importantly understanding the needs of your prospective clients. It is important that you identify what it is they are looking for and if they have a need you can fill and do the best you can to fill that need if possible with your product.

After the sale, however, make sure to make follow-up phone calls, asking them how they are benefitting from their purchase and if there is anything you can do to further help them. Make them feel like they are your only customer and they will always come back to you. In other words, create an environment that keeps them wanting your business.

Ask for referrals

The best and least expensive form of advertising is customer referrals. People will buy something more because they know someone personally that uses the product and less because of an advertisement or good sales presentation.

Do not underestimate the importance of asking for this even after the close of the sale. It is imperative, however, to ask for referrals even if you were unsuccessful in selling your product but do so with tact and be respectful of the wishes of the client.

Sometimes this technique can even have unanticipated results if the prospect that did not buy refers you a few names and numbers, and these people you eventually meet happen to get excited about your business. As a result the initial prospective client who did not want to buy the product, may possibly reconsider trying it out after hearing the excitement of their friends.

Offer subscriptions or replenishment services

If this is not yet a part of your business plan, make sure to include it right away.

Customers are lazy by nature and anything that can keep your business flowing through their household or organization is your responsibility. Offer a wide variety of subscriptions and replenishment systems to ensure that they use your product consistently and frequently so that it eventually becomes a part of their lifestyle. Once you are part of a customer's routine, you will never lose their business.

Be unique

Consider this example. Mp3 players have revolutionized the way people interact with music today. One of the more famous brands of mp3 players is the popular iPod. It is interesting to note however that the iPod is not the most expensive product in its category, doesn't have the most options and was not the first such product to be released.

The reason for its success is the simplicity of using the product. It is the easiest of the Mp3 players to manipulate. So the point here is this: have some exclusive items in your line of products. Develop a product that your customers cannot get anywhere else and this will ensure a continued long-lasting business for you.

So the bottom line is that repeat sales are more than just revenue. They represent the only real residual income for the organization. Without repeat sales it is tough to set realistic future goal. Use these tips to keep your organization bringing in more revenue and keeping old revenue as well.

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