Over the last six plus years of selling Thirty One, I have customers who are MIA. They have stopped buying from me or have moved or just unsubscribed to my emails. I am sure I am not alone, right? As I was going through my list of “holiday shoppers” for the last few years, there were several names or customers I haven’t seen in awhile. It gets my curiosity up…. why?
My follow-up process has changed some what over the last few years. Now I try to stay engaged with customers. Yes, there are random phone calls unanswered. Emails ignored. And even Facebook posts or private messages which have been deleted, ignored and in a rare occurrence even blocked! Has this happened to you – customers just quit buying from you without any particular reason?
The real reason for this, are you ready? You may not want to hear it….. is indifference! Okay, I know you are saying – I call, I text, blah, blah, blah. Our company sends the monthly newsletters to alert our customers about the specials. If we are honest with ourselves, have we really kept in touch with our customers? I don’t mean those calls to BOOK, SELL, RECRUIT. I mean just a call to check in – do you like the product, thank you, happy birthday, whatever the reason to call, text or email.
I can’t tell you the number of times a customer answers the phone, hear it is me calling and there is dead silence on the other end of the phone. They have already decided I am calling to sell them something or to book a party. Knowing this is their mindset, I usually start with “I’m not calling to sell you something or book a party, I just wanted to check in”. I can almost hear the sigh of relief on the other end of the phone. Do I ultimately want a sale or a booking? YES! But I want to build a relationship with them. Did you know it can take up to 5 non-sales contacts before someone feels comfortable buying from you?
How often are we focused on getting new customers? Think about the leads you call from a vendor event or a potential recruit or a potential party hostess. We are persistent in building a relationship with them to get to the “prize”. Yet, those people who are already in our customer base may only hear from us when we are selling or booking.
Statistics show 55% of our customers take their business elsewhere because WE, as direct sellers, show no interest in keeping them around. YIKES! That is a lot of lost business. I have talked about the importance of follow-up in the past but if this statistic doesn’t convince you, nothing will. Picking up the phone for some is the hardest thing to do but it is one of the MOST important things we can do as direct sellers. For me, it is about making sure my customers are happy with their product and for them to feel comfortable coming back to me – even if it is only once a every year or two.
Let’s be honest, how often have you been at an event, offered to put someone on your mailing list, then never followed through? I don’t mean the occasional slips through the cracks kind of mistake, I mean the norm. I have a graphic I send via email to everyone who stops at my table and leaves their information at a vendor event. Just a little reminder from me. Then I add them to my email list so they get the company emails and any other special emails I send out. That is about it, unless there has been a specific request for something.
What about the person who wants you to contact them about a special or a product they were interested in? Thirty One has specials which are repeated every year (large utility tote, medium utility tote, lunch totes and inserts) and I have a list of people who are interested. It is a running list so when the special is approaching, I can reach out to them and secure their business.
I know some direct sellers who are AMAZING at follow-up. They have awesome systems to ensure they are engaging customers on a regular basis. These consultants I am sure are not loosing customers or at least not at the rate others may be.
I struggled for awhile to find a system which works for me. This one has been working for me so far and only takes a few minutes to complete.
- Email thank you when an order in placed (online or at a party)
- Email with shipping information when I receive shipping notice
- Mail a handwritten thank you card with a business card
- 10 days after shipping notice, call to be sure order received & they are happy with their purchase
- Tag for 75 days, send a postcard reminding them of the 90 day warranty on their order. This is another chance for them to return a product they may not happy with.
Then I am stuck! I leave those people in my data base never to be reached out to again UNLESS they mentioned something in the conversations I can tag them for – vacation check-in, looking for a specific product/print/special or health struggle. A tickler file helps me to keep things in order on a monthly and daily basis.
I am sure I am loosing a few customers along the way but I don’t think it is as many as before since I have a system. Finding a system which works for you can be an issue or it can be an excuse to avoid doing those things we don’t like to do?
So, what about you – are you loosing customers? Or, are you one of those AWESOME direct sellers with a system to keep you connected to your customers? Share your struggles and your successes!
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!