The Sales Cycle: Follow Up
As you know, the sales process does not end with the close of the sale. Service after the sale often is more important to the customer than the price of the purchase itself. As a sales professional, you have a responsibility to ensure your customer’s satisfaction after the sale has been made, or in other words, to follow up.
Following up with a customer constitutes the last step in the sales process. This discussion is the last in an eight-part series examining each step of the sales cycle.
In the travel industry, relationships are the name of the game. Your follow-up activities are some of your best ways to foster long-term relationships based on trust and mutual satisfaction. Such activities run the gamut from accurately processing the order to keeping in touch with your customer after the sale to answer any questions or solve problems.
It is very important to keep your client engaged. A good travel consultant knows that it is vital to keep in touch with the client after all payments have been received. Send the client checklists of what to bring and pack. Deliver necessary information on international documents, such as visas, passports, and international drivers permits. Mail a little gift box containing a DVD, miniature sunblock, a puzzle or game for children to take on the plane, etc. And don’t forget that, while the client is experiencing that fabulous vacation you’ve planned, you need to arrange a little something extra, like a special treat in the room or a private dinner at the beach. All these little pieces are key to maintaining client engagement and building a long-term relationship.
Remember always to be the agency that PRIDES itself in everything it does:
Customer service naturally weaves its way throughout and beyond the entire sales process and is perhaps most evident in this follow-up stage. When you think of different ways to ensure that your sales efforts will result in future interactions with satisfied repeat customers, your goal should be to let your customers know you sincerely appreciate their business and are committed to providing them with a satisfactory travel experience. Whether that means sending notes on birthdays or anniversaries or remembering your customers’ interests and preferences, your follow-up efforts are an important part of the sales process.
And don’t forget the power of referrals! Your satisfied customers are some of your best sources for identifying new leads. As part of your regular follow-up, ask your current customers if they know other people who would appreciate your assistance in helping them plan their travel. By pursuing these leads, you are expanding your prospect pool and taking the first step in yet another sales cycle.
Note that the sales cycle we’ve been examining these past weeks is a model that describes the flow from one step to another in an ideal sales situation. Understanding the steps of the sales cycle can help you adapt your sales techniques when sales encounters aren’t quite ideal (which is usually the case). Moreover, knowing these steps can help you analyze your current sales techniques and identify the areas in which you need further practice as you continuously venture toward greater levels of sales success.
This week’s Hot Tip Tuesday was taken from the Customer-Focused Selling module in The Travel Institute’s Certified Travel Associate program. For a more in-depth look at all the skills in this step, we encourage you to enroll in the CTA program.