Customer Loyalty & Sales Cycle


A sales management team may wonder if there is a connection between customer loyalty and the type of sales cycle that exists for the product or service that is being offered. Although there is a connection, managers should examine each case, as there is much that goes into making this determination.

You can certainly create a false or heightened sense of urgency by saying, "buy by Friday." If you are buying something that is driven by volatile markets or a commodity-based product, then this is a common approach.

I have never driven by a jewelry store that hasn't had a "sale" sign. Some stores are always holding these "sales" and this magic word can generate interest. There is something psychological about that.

It depends on what you sell. If it is more of a business-to-business situation, then yes, you can get a quick bump sometimes when you do something like that. Here you tend to focus on price or incentive to foster interest.

Car dealers do that a lot. They offer cash back and financing deals. While these both work in some instances, in order to create a loyal buyer, you have to listen to them.

In a general sense, they want someone who is going to listen to them, position the product or service that fits their particular objectives and makes them feel like they are important.

After the sale, if appropriate, there is followup and connection there. In terms of long-term customer loyalty, there is the buying experience on the front end and a need for servicing on the back end that is of equal quality and consistency.

In some cases there are legitimate marketing, incentives and other techniques that happen to occur because of the business cycle. These can include inventory at the end of the season and clothing that gets discounted when a new series comes in. There is nothing wrong with using this to generate more sales.

We are a culture that is reliant upon the "after Christmas sale," or any number of opportunities that are generated by events on a much larger scale. Businesses will not always have control over this.

The longer the sales cycle, the more involved you have to be. The shorter the transactional sales cycle, you don't have to be involved as much, as this is where the gimmicks can exist.

The longer sales cycle is not going to be something that is reliant upon these gimmicks because customers are making significant purchases, eliminating the likelihood that an offer is going to be made on a whim.

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