5 Ethical Ways to Improve Sales & Follow up Techniques Online

We all remember the days of cold calls in the middle of lunch and marketers eagerly spamming us with emails day and night. The old-fashioned methods were to some extent considered appropriate but were very quickly dubbed as intrusive, somewhat aggressive, and consistently ineffective in terms of inspiring loyalty and return business. Working in sales in the modern era comes with so many changes to the methods of yore, but it also comes with a slew of flexible, yet ethical solutions that expand on the notion of lead generation, nurturing, and qualifying. 

By combining ethical online and offline marketing and sales techniques, your customer-centric business can now actually skyrocket the affection it inspires among its customers. Since every brand and every industry are different, you will be able to mix and match between different approaches until you find the blend that fits your business, all the while learning how to keep your customers satisfied and eager to come back to your doorstep. If you’re not quite certain what you can do to make your sales and follow-up methods more ethical, here are a few ideas to add to your strategy.

Ask your customers – they know best

A simple “How did we do?” is a surprisingly effective doorway to an entire collection of informative responses. You simultaneously show your customers that you care about their opinion and you gather relevant information that can help you streamline your efforts in the future and communicate your services better. However, don’t ask the question until you’re ready to hear and implement the answers.

If they tell you that you’ve gone too far with frequent emails or that they find your discounts meaningless because you keep sending them offers they have zero interest in – this is your chance to shine and take their advice. 

Furthermore, surveys regarding your service or product are a unique glimpse into the reception of your brand. Every business needs room to evolve, and the data your customers give you is a well of innovation just waiting to spring to life. Above all, credit your customers for their contribution, and they’ll be even more inspired to share further insights when you ask them more questions next time. 

Add credibility to your efforts with data

Unlike old-fashioned sales pitches, follow-up emails, and messages, modern-day brands need to do everything in their power to sound less, well, salesy. Your customer already knows you’re trying to sell them something. Use your communication to show them how they can benefit from the sale and to share something valuable with them to keep their interest alive.

  • Send them detailed how-to infographics with useful tips that contribute to their life. If you’re selling fitness gear, you can send them a guide on maximizing their workout performance with actionable, athlete-approved tips.

  • Freebies are always a great idea, be it an e-book on a topic that would interest them, or a gift certificate for their birthday. Your customers will appreciate the attention and remember the gesture.

  • Support your follow-up with research and studies that directly link your product or service to a benefit in their life. People do want to know how they will benefit other than saving a few bucks when there’s a discount. 

Personalize your follow-up

You need to remember that your brand is just another business filling your customers’ inboxes with offers, discount codes, follow-up emails, reminders that they’ve left something in your cart. They will often see your subject line and just send the email straight to the trash folder without opening it. For your follow-ups to have more impact and substance, give them a personal touch. 

If you’d like to surprise them for their birthday, you can customize cards with the help of PoscardMania and mail it directly to your customer together with a voucher for your store. A hand-written signature by your business owner would be another special touch worth remembering. Any customer that receives such treatment in this digitally-dominated era will certainly talk about the gesture to their loved ones. This also gives you the opportunity to follow up in a timely manner, but keep things more personal due to the connection you will have established by that point. 

Referral incentives for better business

Another way to formulate your follow-up without strictly using it to push your products or services is to let your customers know that if they share the love, so to speak, they can earn points with your brand and redeem them for something in your store. 

Perhaps they might not feel the need to make a purchase right now, but they know someone who could benefit from the buy. Incentivizing the referral just means that you give them that final “nudge” to forward your link. This instantly grants you access to a potential qualified lead, since your customer has already decided you’re a good match, and a chance to boost repeat business through referrals. 

Let your values do the talking 

Finally, all of the above methods are based on one premise that nowadays simply goes without saying: transparency. No hidden agenda, no hidden costs, no fine-print fees they cannot see until they hit the final checkout page. Transparency is the one key value that allows your sales team to establish meaningful connections and find a way to communicate with potential and repeat customers. 

Once you have established that transparency is the very foundation of the trust they place in your brand, you can introduce them to other values they can relate to. Do you donate a percentage of every purchase to a cause dear to your clientele? Do you feed shelter dogs from a portion of your profits? Do you give away your own products to those in need for every five (or every one) items sold in your store, like Bombas does? There are ways to allow your brand to epitomize anything you stand for. 

Wrapping up

In a world riddled by frauds and aggressive sales folk, you can develop a culture and a team that represents your brand in an ethical, customer-centric manner. These are examples of the tactics you can implement in your sales and follow-up strategy, so use them not just to boost your ROI, but also to make sure that your products and services go to people who will genuinely benefit from them. That is by far the best way to maintain loyalty and protect your reputation for years on end. 

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Keith Coppersmith is an Adelaide based business journalist with a degree in Media Management. With experience in numerous small businesses and startups, he enjoys giving advice on all things business.
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