The impression you make in your first sales call is vital. If the meeting was a success and you closed the sale, you now have the key to providing a customer experience par excellence.

But you can’t stop there. Just because you’ve won over a potential customer doesn’t mean they’ll be with you forever. Unless, of course, you find out exactly how to satisfy their needs. We all need to feel listened to, valued and protected. And there’s a high chance that customers who feel those emotions – thanks to your service – will share their positive experience.

If you want to unleash a domino effect and increase your portfolio of satisfied customers long-term, here are 5 easy steps:

1 Provide useful information before it’s asked for.  Nothing pleases a customer more than proactivity. Once they have bought your services, it’s your responsibility to provide results. If you want to stand out from the competition and decide to make your company a reference within the sector, you need to deliver an outstanding, quality service.

Anticipate needs and deliver valuable, accurate information: surprise them first thing by emailing them a report on the evolution of their business; call to suggest actions they can take to reduce costs, or send an invitation to Skype or Hangout to present new product features created exclusively for them.

2 Improve your service through asking questions – and listening to the response. Successful salespeople have totally mastered the art of two-way dialogue. Listen to your customers’ opinions; show interest in their concerns and their hopes. You can then adapt your product or service to their needs and gain their trust. Companies that try to sell by insisting on their infinite offerings and benefits end up talking to no one but themselves.

3 Respect their space. Find a balance between i) being available to help your customer in any way you can, and ii) giving them space. Advise without pestering; give solutions but learn to wait for their reaction. Your treatment may be impeccable, but remember your customer has many other projects and people to deal with.

4 Keep your promises. Delivery dates, punctuality, helpful contacts you were going to give your customer… Make sure you always keep your word. There’s not much point having plenty of business development ideas if they never become a reality. Be cautious, and know your limits in terms of time and economic resources. If your customer chose you, it’s also because they feel reassured by your degree of responsibility.

5 Recognise your mistakes, and apologise. We’re all human, and we can all make mistakes. If you raised your customer’s expectations with something you can’t deliver on, be humble and apologise. They may not be happy about it, but they will recognise that you know when you’ve made an error. The time you spend solving the problem is directly proportional to the level of dissatisfaction of your customer. So once you’ve apologised, start finding a solution.

Apply these 5 pieces of advice, and you’ll increase the satisfaction of your current customer portfolio. And the best thing about good service is the impact of the recommendations it can generate. Before searching in Google for the reputation of a particular brand, we generally try and find out the opinion of friends or contacts that have already bought that brand.

So if you win over your current customers, you’re also convincing many potential new ones. You may not know who they are yet, but it shouldn’t be long before they get in touch.

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