When you start developing your multiple streams of income business by adding products and programs which are available on your website, there’s a very specific policy you need to have in place … and that is a clearly defined Sales Policy.
Before we get into what this is about and why you need it, let me just take a minute to ask you how you would handle the following scenarios:
- You offer a discount to prospective clients of either a dollar amount or percentage off the price of your product/program if they purchase before a certain date. A client comes to you after the deadline and says they didn’t read your email in time, can they still receive the discount? What do you say?
- You are offering quite an expensive program so decide to make things easier on your clients by offering a payment plan. Part way through the payment plan one of your client’s credit cards gets declined. What do you do?
- You offer a guarantee on your product/program and a client comes to you asking for a refund that is outside of your guarantee period. What do you say?
As soon as you start selling products and programs online all of these scenarios (and others) become very real – and, yes, I have found myself having to deal with all of the above!
Your Sales Policy is simply a statement which lets your clients and customers know what they can expect from you and how you handle your sales processes. How your sales policy is structured is entirely up to you; it’s your business and you’re the business owner, but once you’ve decided what those policies are you need to be strong in your implementation. Having a central page that clearly lays out your sales policies will make the implementation of them far easier (for you) and smoother, and will ensure that you’re being fair to ALL of your clients.
The sort of things you would include in your sales policy are:
- How you handle discounts and coupons that are requested after the deadline.
- How you handle coupons that should have been processed at the time of purchase, i.e. via your shopping cart system.
- How you handle declined credit card transactions (and you will get them when you start offering payment plans).
- How you handle your regular holiday sales.
- How you handle requests for refunds, especially if that request happens after the guarantee period.
These are all situations that you have to consider and assume will happen in your business and therefore you need to plan accordingly. The best way to do this is by creating a Sales Policy page that is linked to from all of your own sales pages. You should put it at the bottom of each sales page, but also reference it on the area of your sales page where your customer is just about to purchase.
For example, a great place to link to your Sales Policy page is right underneath where you have your ‘Click Here to order’ button. Then simply have a sentence underneath that says, “Please see Sales Policy for full details”.
Tip: Make sure your sales policy page opens in a new browser window so your customer doesn’t lose the sales page when going to review your sales policy.
Once you have your Sales Policy page all set up then should you find yourself in one of the scenarios outlined above, you simply direct your client to your page. And when you have to say “no” to your client it makes your response a lot less personal and more graceful – especially if you’re having to respond yourself rather than having a team member do it for you.
Having a clearly defined Sales Policy in place eliminates a lot of the stress and frustration of having to deal with these situations, and allows you to be fair to ALL of your clients.
(c) 2010 Tracey Lawton
About the author: Online Business Development Strategist, Tracey Lawton, teaches online solo service professionals how to create the essential online marketing and office organization systems needed so that they can create a more streamlined, systemized, and automated online business. Check out http://www.officeorganizationsuccess.com for fr.ee how-to articles, resources, tips, and tools, and sign up for your fr.ee “Office Organization Success Toolkit”.