Sales Need a Boost? Try Reviving "Cold" CustomersBy: Meredith Pond
Did your high-school history teacher ever explain to you the importance of taking and keeping class notes? If you followed this advice, you were likely glad you did when mid-terms came along. If you didn't take notes, you probably suffered the consequences.
Well, the same rule applies in the business world. If you take and keep notes on customer inquiries and orders, they'll be available for you to use when you need them. If you don't, you'll probably have a lot more trouble drumming up entirely new business.
Think for a minute about how you communicate with your customers. If it's primarily by phone, have a big notepad nearby to take down names, dates, phone numbers, email addresses, questions, and other pertinent information and facts. If your prospects don't volunteer such information, ask for it. Most of them won't mind and will even appreciate your attention to details.
If you communicate with customers and prospects mainly through email (or even snail mail), you have the advantage of having most of the information you need already documented for you. Try creating a folder in your email program for possible or prospective clients, and save the emails you get from them, even if they never place an order. Periodically when things get slow, go back to that file and touch base with those people who seemed interested but never ordered, or who did order and might consider doing it again.
Whether speaking on the phone or sending them an email, ask these "cold" or "past" customers how things are going for them. Refer to your notes to know what questions to ask and what advice to offer. Remind them that, at one time, they were interested in your products or services, and tell them about any special promotions you're having. Don't be pushy, simply offer to help them if they're still interested, and let them know they can contact you any time for help.
When placing a call or sending an email to one of these prospects, be sure to start by reminding them of who you are and why they contacted you before. Tell them you were going through some old notes or emails, and wanted to follow up to make sure you'd answered all their questions and given them what they needed. They'll appreciate your effort and concern, and that makes them more likely to buy.
© Copyright 2001, Meredith Pond
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