Last week I participated in a conversation on Facebook about a topic that I that I think a lot of business owners face, so I thought I would share it here.
The gist of the conversation had to do with the fact no matter how clearly we try to spell out the terms and conditions of our services, most people don’t read them before finalizing their purchase. The frustration comes when something happens that surprises the customer causing them to complain, even though it was clearly outlined in the terms and conditions.
While we can’t please everyone 100% of the time, I think marketing can help reduce this frustration and improve the overall buying experience with something I’ll call, for lack of a better term, marketing between the sale and delivery.
When we think of marketing as a synonym for selling, then marketing between the sale and delivery may seem inappropriate for addressing this situation – particularly in a B2B setting.
If we think of marketing as education, communication, and expectation setting, then I believe marketing has a lot to offer in addressing the issue outlined above. We worked hard to create expectations via marketing before the sale; we need to continue setting and managing expectations after the sale.
“But I already outlined exactly what will happen and what they should expect.” you say. I’m sure you have, but just like other forms of marketing, communication, and education, you message is more effective when delivered more than once and using different media.
It is important to remember that when someone buys your product or service, they have a lot of other things going on in their life. I’m sure you are a busy person – let me ask you a question. Would you rather have another project put on your plate or have 2 items added to your action list for today? Most people that I know would opt for the 2 action items; they don’t have time for another “project”, even if they don’t know that that entails.
Are you giving your new customer a project? If you give me a 3 page document of terms and conditions, you’ve given me a project. I need to ready it, figure out what I need to do, figure out what order to do them in, schedule them, and complete them.
Regular readers here know that I like to talk about the difference between being efficient and effective. Documenting a list or terms and conditions and including them in an information packet that is given to the customer at the time of the sale is an example of being efficient. Taking the time, before, during, and after the sale to make sure the customer knows exactly what to expect and what is expected of them is being effective. Being effective will get you more repeat businesses and more referrals.
You can still be efficient. Many of the marketing technologies you used to make the sale (i.e. email marketing, mobile marketing, direct mail, etc.) can also be used after the sale. Use these tools to deliver information in small, bite-sized chunks of information that people can quickly consume and act upon. Rather than giving me a project, give me a task, complete with a deadline and the resources I need to complete the task. Wow, you made it super easy for me to get that done, thank you.
In Duct Tape Marketing, we are fond of saying that if you want to get business from referrals you need a referable business. Use the time between the sale and delivery to separate yourself from your competitors and become a business that people love to refer.