However, if you already have a paying customer on board that knows and trusts your service, it's a lot faster and easier to make a second sale.
In saying that, it's not always that straight-forward to win repeat business. Things can go wrong and the unforeseen can always happen. However, here are a few things to consider that will make your chances of getting another order much more likely.
Provide An Absolutely Stellar Service
Clearly, the best way to give your client the impression that you are worth doing business with again is to deliver an excellent service the first time. This will go a long way to instilling confidence in your customer that you are safe bet for the long term.
Over and above making sure that your product and/or service actually does what you say it will do, there are a few things you can do to make sure that your client is happy with what they have purchased:
- Do 10% more than you said you would (at no extra cost)
- Complete the project/deliver the product earlier than stated
- Fix something you notice while completing the project (at no extra cost)
One way you can virtually guarantee repeat orders is to focus your efforts on selling services that require maintenance, or monthly work. The effort required to make a one off sale or a sale that needs 3 or 4 months worth of upkeep is largely the same, although the difference to your bottom line is huge. Therefore, it makes sense that most of your focus should go toward selling these services.
Here are a few examples of projects that would need a few months work:
- Medium/long term web marketing projects
- Monthly bookkeeping services
- HR (human resources) management
- End of year accounts audit
- HR employment contract preparation
In cases where ongoing maintenance isn't an option (with products, for example), it's a good idea to come up with incentives that will make your customer want to purchase with you again.
Again, you'll have to make sure that the initial sale either met or exceeded customer expectations first, although here are a few ideas that will help raise the likely-hood of another sale:
- Time sensitive voucher codes
- 'Buy 2 get your 3rd free' type of deals
- Offering 'Gold-type' packages for 50% off after purchase of a 'Silver-type' package
Think About Complementary Products And Services
Another area that can yield excellent returns is that of looking into how you can promote complementary products and services to your existing clients. Here are a few examples as to how you can achieve this:
- If a client is in need of a website redesign, do they also need their SEO taken care of?
- If a customer comes to you for annual bookkeeping services, do they also need payroll taken care of?
- What about a customer that purchases a garden shed from you - do they also need a set of garden tools?
Become Great At Writing Sales Proposals
This one is more skill-based. A well crafted sales proposal can mean the difference between a foot in the door and complete rejection. Although you will technically already have a foot in the door after your first sale, it's always best to treat each deal as a new one and to approach the customer as professionally as you would the first time you pitched to them.
If you can put together a second proposal that shows you have a complete grasp of your customer's current situation as well as their problems, you'll be well on your way to proving that you're a credible partner for the long term.
This is especially true if you can spot a real problem that your client wasn't even aware of. For example, if you were working on a Human Resources project for your new client (interviewing job candidates for example) and you noticed that employee contracts didn't meet current legislation, you're second proposal could focus on this.
That way, you're solving a real business problem for your customer while securing that all important second deal - sounds like an ideal win-win situation to me.
For more on writing sales proposals, please see this post.
Focusing on learning how to win repeat business isn't a dark art. All it requires is that you commit to focusing on making it very appealing for your client to do do business with you again.
To recap, here are 5 ways in which you can do that:
1) Provide a stellar service to your client the first time
2) Focus on selling service that require maintenance
3) Think about incentives that'll appeal to your client
4) Think about how you can promote complementary services
5) Become great at writing sales proposals
Thanks for reading,
By Alan MacDougall
Got a nagging marketing question? Ask me here.
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Revenue Builder is a small business marketing strategy advice blog, written to help small business owners and startups maximise sales revenue.