Customer Order : So, you’ve closed the deal once. It’s now time for your customer to place the next order, but all you’re hearing is silence. So, how do you ask a customer for a new order?
The right approach may help your business win a customer for life. On the other hand, the wrong approach may not only cost you this deal but cause you to lose the customer forever. It’s a challenging situation.
On this page, we’ll walk you through four steps that will help you close more subsequent deals and create loyal customers in the process.
Step 1: Treat Each Order as an Opportunity to Win the Customer’s Business
Initial close rates are typically quite low, though there’s a wide variance depending on industry and medium. For example, e-commerce tops out at about three percent per Kibo data. Overall, companies tend to max out around 20 percent, according to Small Business Trends. Yet, the probability of selling to an existing customer climbs with each subsequent order and can reach up to 60-70 percent.
In other words, there are hurdles on the path to customer loyalty. Although conversions happen much more easily after an initial sale, each subsequent order will still require some TLC.
Step 2: Engage the Customer
Highly engaged customers make 90 percent more frequent purchases, according to Rosetta research. While we often think of engagement in terms of digital marketing—how many likes, comments, and shares someone gives—the agency contends engagement relates to the emotional connection a customer feels for a brand. For example, an engaged customer is six times more likely to believe the brand knows them and is four times more likely to agree the brand knows what they want.
With that in mind, you should not wait until it’s time for the customer to place a new order to reach out to them. Instead, you or your team should follow up to ensure satisfaction after the first order and interact with them. Particularly with high-value orders and in industries where spans between orders are traditionally longer, it’s essential to stay connected.
Some of this falls to the sales and support teams, but it’s also important to have your marketing department sending customers messages that can help them maximize the value of what they’ve purchased and other relevant content.
Step 3: Understand Their Emotions and Identify Openings
Most people think customers purchase for logical reasons, but the opposite is actually true. Around 95 percent of purchase decision-making is subconscious, says Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman. While Zaltman addresses emotion on a broader scale and how brands can improve their offerings and positioning by learning how customers feel about them, the same is true of individual sales professionals.
Your customer is purchasing for an emotional reason and justifying that purchase with logical ones. Of course, the reasons will vary by industry, product, and customer, so it’s up to you to do the digging to find out their emotional reasons or supply them with logical reasons to justify their decision if they’re already feeling pulled toward the purchase.
This is one of the reasons having a sales or support touchpoint between purchases is important. After the customer has had the opportunity to use the product or service you’ve sold them, you should be reaching out with a quick, yet personalized, follow-up email to gauge their satisfaction. An affirmative response means you can follow up with an order request when it’s time to order again if they don’t do it on their own. A negative response or bad feedback is an opportunity to address their concerns, so you can get the customer ready to place the next order.
Step 4: Proceed As if It’s a “Yes” or Make a “No” Uncomfortable
Satisfied customers may not need much nudging to the finish line. If you’re in touch and the customer indicated they’re happy, it’s generally safe to proceed as if they’ve already said “yes” to placing the next order. Prep the purchase order. Then, send it over along with a note that you’re doing it as a courtesy to ensure they receive expedited service and let them know you’re happy to adjust it as needed.
If you don’t have a strong enough relationship with the customer to feel confident that they’re ready to purchase again, it’s generally best to start with a phone call rather than an email. It’s essential to create a dialog that feels natural for you and fits the customer and their unique situation. However, you’ll want to follow a few guidelines as you probe or close:
- Focus on their needs and use the word “you.”
- Stick to questions that can only be answered with “yes” or “no.”
- Word the question in such a way that “no” is an uncomfortable answer.
How to Ask for the Next Customer Order Examples
- Are you comfortable enough with the solution to place a full order this time?
- I’ve prepared your purchase order to ensure you get expedited service. Can I count on you to follow through by the end of the week?
- Can I get your go-ahead on this?
- Are you feeling confident enough to get the next order going?
- Are you ready to give me the green light on the next order?
These questions are easily ignored via email when a customer is on the fence, which is why it’s important to pose them in person or via phone. It’s ok to reach out to them via email after attempting a call, but then you want to focus more on your attempt to reach them and uncovering when you’ll be able to reach them via phone.
As you move forward with subsequent orders, customers are much more likely to purchase without needing nudges. However, until purchasing from you becomes a habit or the easiest way for the customer, you’ll want to reach out to them to guide them to the decision each time.
What to Avoid When Asking
Sometimes, the things you don’t do are as important as the things you do.
- Don’t strongarm the customer. While you can push someone to make a decision they’re not comfortable with to close a sale, chances are that the sale will fall through, and you’ll lose the customer for good.
- Don’t offer a discount before the customer has missed a vital ordering milestone. Although discounts can be helpful if a customer says they’re looking at a less expensive option or they’re not taking the next step despite being guided, it shouldn’t be the go-to. It devalues the brand and sets unrealistic long-term expectations.
- Don’t discuss problems unless the customer brings them up. It’s better to address issues in post-sale phone calls from the customer service team and focus on key features and benefits when closing a subsequent order. Again, people buy based on emotions, so you want to talk about the things that have specifically made this customer happy.
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Factoring can’t help you close a sale, but it can give you some breathing room by paying on open B2B invoices while you’re waiting for other sales to close. If you’re interested in learning more, request a complimentary rate quote from Charter Capital.