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You want your customer to pick up the phone and call you when issues arise. Here’s how you set that up.

When you get a prospect to say, “Yes,” that’s not the end of the sales process. In many industries there’s an onboarding process that takes place after the sale is agreed upon. Think of business services, installation services, or a product that has to be delivered after your contract is signed. During this really critical period, your job as a salesperson isn’t over. You’re doing yourself an injustice if you fully trust your customer service team or your onboarding to handle that next phase. As you transfer your client to that next step of the sales process, you’re in a window which is typically called a buyback period. That means the customer can back out of the deal and you lose your commission. So, during that incredibly sensitive period you still have work to do. You do not want to lose a customer when an issue arises during that onboarding process. Typically when an issue arises during the onboarding process, one of two things happens. Your customer is going to completely walk away from the deal because this isn’t what was promised to them. If you aren’t communicating with your new customer during this time period to make sure they are satisfied, you’re already too late. If they are unhappy and you haven’t been communicating with them, they will back out. This is what we don’t want. But what we do want is the other option. When an issue arises, you want your customer to pick up the phone and call you with these issues. And here’s how you set that up.

Develop a relationship

From the start, you want to have such a strong, solid sales appointment that your prospect is comfortable calling you with an issue. You want the sales appointment to end where the prospect feels you as the salesperson has this person’s best interest in mind. Then, on the back end, you may come across a situation where your company isn’t delivering the agreed upon metrics. When that new customer calls you and says I have a problem, listen closely. In every industry, there are going to be hiccups at some point in time or the other. You’re always going to face customer issues, product issues, service issues. How you handle these complaints is going to impact your ability to retain those customer.

Acknowledge and empathize

Acknowledge the issue and come from a position of empathy not sympathy. You want to put yourself in your customer’s position. You want to let your customer know you are completely understanding the issue they’re having. You want to empathize and relate to this customer issue. You don’t want to respond and say things like “really, you’re the only person that’s ever experienced that.” Or “that’s odd, that never happens.” Don’t make your customer feel silly for having these issues come up. You want to be there to ensure them that you will take care of them this part of the journey.

YOU fix the problem

Make sure the customer understands you personally are going to resolve the issue for them. This is very important. You are the person that made the deal. You are the person that’s sold the product. Now it is your job to deliver and get on the phone with your customer service department, the implementation team, the installation team whoever you need to talk to. Ensure they deliver what you had sold your prospect. So by simply telling your customer, I understand where you’re coming from. I’m personally going to see this all the way to the finish line. That’s a great resolution and you should do that

At that point, it still may not be over. If your customer service team drops the ball again, your customer is really going to question your company. The mistake a lot of sales professionals make is they over promise the results and under communicate the process. If you know the issue your customer’s facing is going to get resolved, let your customer know that. Don’t make false promises. Don’t give timelines or deadlines that aren’t realistic or can’t be met. Be honest with them about the way the whole onboarding process works. On the opposite side of that, don’t under communicate during this sensitive time. You might just need to call your customer and say, ‘hey, I don’t have a concrete detail for you today. However, I just want to let you know this is important to me. I assure you that I’m on top of it. I’ll get in contact with you in a few days if we haven’t heard anything.’ Follow up with your customer during that time to eliminate all the areas of concern they have. If you’ve built great rapport, they will stay with you during onboarding hiccups. You sold them a great product. You acknowledge the concerns or complaints in the beginning and then you’re staying in contact with them during this whole process. Even if you don’t have concrete answers, you can still communicate that with your with your customer. We all have experience with large corporations or large customer service projects where sometimes there’s four or five six different people getting involved to make a decision. Your prospect doesn’t need to know all this. All they need to know is that you’re on top of it and you’re not going to drop the ball on that.

Don’t lose your next sale because of a bad onboarding process. Remember, you are the face of the company at this point in time. In a year from now, the customer might have a customer service rep assigned to them. But at this critical point in time you are that customer service rep. So own it, ensure your deal lands home and catapult those commissions

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