The brand communications have worked as designed: the advertising, pr, trade shows, sales presentations, packaging, etc. have all brought the prospect to the brink of becoming a customer. The cash register is about to ring and the cork popped.

But then something goes awry. That just-about-to-be-new-customer walks away. Quite possibly forever.

What happened?

Could be any number of things, but the first place to look is at the various interactions that took place during the actual process of making the sale.

In reviewing how you interact with prospects and customers, consider the four categories of activities or brand touch points:

  1. Pre-purchase touch points: interactions like advertising and sales presentations that drive brand awareness, differentiation, connection, and consideration
  2. Purchase touch points: interactions that take place during the closing process that drive confidence and validation of the purchase
  3. Post-purchase touch points: follow-up interactions that take place after the sale is completed that drive loyalty, advocacy, and cross/up-selling opportunities
  4. Influencing touch points: interactions that make an indirect impression such as online reviews, editorial, etc.

If the sale fell apart at the last minute, obviously ask the prospect what happened. Based on the response, dial into the second of these categories interactions, the purchase touch points.  Depending on your business, here are a few things at which to assess closely to see where a problem may exist:

  • Sales personnel
  • Contract/Bid/Proposal
  • Transactional forms and documents: order form, order confirmation, etc.
  • Warranty/Guarantee
  • Packaging
  • Shipping/delivery services
  • Production scheduling/delivery timeline
  • Checkout procedures
  • Engineering services
  • Competitive influence
  • etc.

Odds are, you’ll uncover something the close-but-no-cigar-customer took offense with. If not, move on to the broader list of touch points, including the many behind the scenes influencing touch pointsConsider and evaluate every interaction.

If you’ve prepared a brand touch point management plan, you would have identified, prioritized, and developed a delivery standard for the various interactions that drive your sales. It should be comparatively easy to evaluate the actual delivery of the touch points against the standard and make corrections accordingly. If you don’t have a plan, now’s a good time to prepare one. At 34 North, we can certainly help with this.

Once you’ve figured out the problem you can manage a solution so it won’t happen again. And that will make your day.