Oh, No!! Order deadline is approaching and you don’t have very many orders from customers yet! What can you do to encourage customers to get those orders to you before the order closes? Do your reminders! Reminders are critical to achieving great orders each month. There are many different ways to do reminders that other sales reps use with great success. Here is the process that I use each month to remind my customers that order deadline is approaching and to get their order in on time. Whether you use one or more of these or other ways to do reminders, the goal is to make contact with every customer AND get a reply back from them that they do or do not have an order this time.
- Email – This is a very fast way of doing reminders because you can do a group email to a lot of people quickly. I set up groups of 45 customers (I currently have 3 groups) and then send the same email to each group. It only takes a minute to send the same email out to all my customers this way. **Do not send a group email to more than 100 people at a time or your email gets marked as SPAM.I send email reminders at the following times during the 2-3 weeks before order deadline:
- When catalogs are mailed out – I let customers know they are coming and to let me know if they don’t receive one. I also try to point out a sale item or special offer in the new catalog.
- When Portals opens to start entering orders – I let customers know I can start entering orders for the current catalog. I also remind them about my Early Order Drawing I do every month and when they need to have their order to me to qualify.
- Monday of order week – the office sends a really nice Constant Contact email reminding customers that it is order deadline week. This email goes out to all customers whose email address is in Portals and to those who have signed up to receive it. (This is another reason why it is a good idea to have your customer’s email address entered in their Portals file.)
- Friday (the day before deadline) – this email goes only to the customers I have not been able to contact up to this point. I remind them that the next day is deadline and I point out any special offers, great sales, contests, etc., again. Here is a sample email:
- Facebook Post – We went into specifics about using Facebook to market Alison’s Pantry on the December 2015 Webinar, so I will only remind you that this is also a great way to potentially reach a lot of people with each post. (If you have a business page, you will be reaching out to more people than just your customers and it could help you pick up new customers.) Post reminders of order deadline or order pickup, contests, pictures and information about AP products, items on sale or special offers in each catalog, testimonials of what you use and like (with pictures and recipes or how you use the product), etc. And remember to post at different times during the week/day to reach more people.
- Text Messaging – This is also a great way to reach a lot of people quickly. Depending on your cell phone plan, you can send the same text message to a group of people at one time. (For example, I can now send one text message to 20 people at one time.) I send text message reminders at the following times during order deadline week:
- Tuesday of order week – this is sent to those customers who have not yet responded to my emails or who have not already given me their order.
- Saturday morning (order deadline) – this text is only sent to those customers I have not heard back from or gotten an order from so it should be a lot smaller group than the Tuesday one.
- Phone Calls – Ultimately, a phone call is the most personal and customer service friendly way to contact your customers, hands down! This used to be the main way I would contact my customers when I was not an RSM and had more time and it would usually take me a couple days to call each of my 100+ customers. With less time to do phone calls, I only make phone calls to customers who do not have or regularly check email, who don’t have cell phones or don’t use texting, and those who have not responded to any of my other attempts to contact them. I make phone calls on Wednesday/Thursday of order week. Usually, by the time I do phone calls, I only have a small part of my customers that I need to call. My phone call will sound something like this:
- “Hello, _______, How are you today? (Listen and respond accordingly to their answer.) I’m getting ready to place an order from Catalog #1 this Saturday and we have some really great buys this month (16 soups on sale, sale on hash browns and bulk bacon, etc.). and I’m calling to see if there is anything you needed this time? (YES – enter their order, give them their total, thank them for their business.) (NO – Very good. I’m glad you are stocked up. I will make sure you get next month’s catalog and we will talk to you soon.)
- If the customer does not answer and you get their voice mail, LEAVE A MESSAGE!! You will basically say the same thing as if you were talking to them in person and this is also an important way to contact them.
Keeping Track of Reminders – It is very important to keep track of who you have contacted, how you contacted them, and if they placed an order or not so you are only continuing to remind those that have not responded. There are several ways to do that but here is what I do:
I go into Portals, click on the Reports link, click on Customer List, and print the list. The first page will show the Customers With Orders. Obviously, we won’t need to contact them. 🙂 The next one or more pages will be the customers with No Orders. When I do a reminder, I will make a note on the right side of each customers name – e for email, t for text message, p for phone call, and a ? if they indicate they have an order but have not given it to me yet so I know to check back with them to get it before the order closes. Once I get a response back from the customer, I put Yes or No to the left of their name. I also update any missing or incorrect information if I can. Here is what my list looks like:
As you can see, I didn’t get a response back from every customer last month and didn’t get very many phone calls made but that is my goal each month so I don’t have a customer contact me after the order closes wanting to place an order. That is the last thing I want to happen!
I hope this blog on doing Order Deadline Reminders was helpful to you and gave you some ideas on how to better contact your customers and get their orders in on time! Good luck!!
Becky Price, RSM