Why didn’t my bloody quote win?
October 9, 2020
Have you ever wondered why you REALLY missed out on a sale? That sale you were so sure you would win. That sale that you poured blood, sweat and tears into.
You were at the meeting on time. You made the client smile. You took down requirements in meticulous detail and submitted a beautiful quotation. So why did they give the job – one that should have been yours – to a competitor?!
It can be frustrating. Some people even feel rage. After all, nobody likes being rejected – especially when you don’t know where you’ve gone wrong. When you spend so much time quoting for jobs that you know you’ll never win, it’s easy to become discouraged and to give up altogether.
What if there was a magic formula that would help you win your next biggest project? Does such a secret game plan exist? I believe so.
One of the reasons successful tradespeople land job after job is not because they’re the cheapest, or have the best tools. It’s not even that they’re the biggest company. They win work because they know how to build credibility and trust with their potential customer. They build a strong relationship with the client, to the point where they appear to be the only logical choice for their job.
In this article I’m going to teach you the 5 biggest mistakes you’re probably making when meeting new clients. I’ll also show what you can do to avoid them.
1. You didn’t show them why you were the best person for the job
If you don’t differentiate yourself from your competitors, the customer is going to look at the bottom of your quote where you’ve written your final pricing. If you’re not the cheapest, you’re not going to win. Hell, even if you ARE the cheapest, chances are you might not get the job.
Why? Because people buy into people. Price is a factor, of course. But so are human relationships. To win work, you need to tell the client your story. Let them know about similar clients you’ve worked for. Tell them about your experience and show them your online reviews. Don’t oversell yourself either, though!
I once called up three bathroom renovations companies and made a time for them all to come out and quote for the job. The first guy jumped straight into the quote without even properly introducing himself. The second was a super confident woman who made me laugh and made me smile. But it’s what the third bloke did that really sealed the deal.
He told me all about the work he’d been doing at a house just a few streets away, and exactly what challenges his client had and how they were similar to mine. He then pulled out his iPhone and showed me his Google+ page and all of his online reviews. His company had a 4.8 star rating out of 5 from 37 different customers. How could I say no to someone with so many satisfied customers?
2. Your quote didn’t match their requirements or budget
Nothing upsets people more than the feeling of not being listened to. That’s what it feels like when you don’t ask the right questions, or fail to understand a potential client’s needs and desires.
Before making a time to visit a prospective client and quote for the job, you should ask a few qualification questions. This will ensure they’re a good fit for you and you’re a good fit for them.
Don’t be scared of asking them for an approximate budget or asking about their financials in a roundabout way. This will weed out time wasters and save you the hassle of quoting for jobs you’d never win in the first place.
Did you know that 73% of leads that businesses generate are not yet ready to buy? Quoting on these jobs can be a waste of time It’s also quite common (particularly those of you with dodgy handwriting!) that the details and requirements are written down wrong, or are incorrectly transferred onto the computer. An easy way to eliminate this headache is to use a client relationship management (CRM) program.
Some modern CRMs can even automatically generate quotes and email them to prospective customers. Now that’s clever.
Fun fact: 37% of sales go to the company that submits their quotation first.
3. Your competitor followed up. You didn’t
How many times have you spoken with a potential client after submitting a quote only to hear “Oh, I’ll get back to you, promise”?
It’s frustrating, especially when you never hear from them again! A lot of tradies like to go with the flow. They say, “Of it’s meant to happen, it will happen”. Well, guess what? This is costing you business!
People get busy. Not only do they have to weigh up all of their options, but they also have kids to pick up from school, a never-ending list of chores, a full-time job and other commitments.
It’s very easy to get sidetracked and forget what we have to do next, which is why it’s so important to follow up.
Did you know that 44% of tradespeople never follow up a quotation? Yet 80% of sales require more than five follow-ups. Setting up a system to remind you when to follow up with these clients is the easiest way to make sure you routinely follow up with all of your outstanding quotes. As soon as you start doing this you’ll notice a significant improvement in conversions.
A CRM can help you automate a lot of this. It will even remind you when you need to call someone back. You can send out automated email follow-ups at preset intervals, taking the boring admin work off your shoulders and onto the machines.
4. You didn’t address their concerns or doubts
Are you the world’s biggest skeptic? We’re all prone to a bit of skepticism – and that includes your prospective customers.
Very few people will agree with everything you say when you meet them for the first time. Many will be too afraid or polite to express their concerns or doubts.
Why? It’s human nature to avoid confrontations and conflict. The easier option is to ignore the situation, the person and the company. That’s why it’s important that you ask the customer lots of questions at the end of your quoting process to encourage them to share their concerns, or explain why they wouldn’t go ahead with the quote.
Research shows that 73% of people base their buying decisions on credibility and trust. Over 80% make decisions to solve problems. In sales we call this objection handling. Essentially it’s having a friendly debate with your desired customer until they see things your way.
Keep in mind that they’ve probably already looked up your company website and your online reviews before you’ve even met with them. It’s important to put the right information online to help overcome early objections.
Information that people want to see on your website include:
Your accreditation or licence
Previous projects and clients you’ve worked with
What you and your company stand for
How you can help them.
5. You weren’t a good match in the first place
Have you ever submitted a quote only to hear that “you’re way too expensive! I found someone who can do it for half the price”?
You may have made the mistake of failing to qualify your lead to ensure you’re a good fit. What’s more likely is that the lead came from the wrong place to begin with.
This issue is usually a result of marketing (i.e. promoting your business and services) to the wrong people.
If you provide a high quality service at a premium price, you need to promote your company to people with high incomes.
If you get along well with older people, you need to promote your company to the elderly. If you’re the cheapest then promote your services to students and others with lower disposable income.
Almost all marketing and advertising platforms appeal to different sets of people. Newspapers such as The Chronicle appeal to older people. Directories like Home Improvement Pages and Yellow Pages appeal to people who are shopping on price.
One of the best ways to ensure the people you get contacting you for quotes are a good match for your business is to have your own company website with a “message” that appeals to your target audience.
This will automatically qualify a lot of tyre kickers out, and give off vibes that will get those who are a good fit to get you on the phone right away.
Now that you know what you have been doing wrong, here is a short checklist/ recap of what you should be doing: –
1) Show them why you are the best person for the job
2) Ensure your quote matches their requirement and budget
3) Make sure you follow up
4) Address their concerns and/ or doubts
5) Ensure you are the right match by assessing their budget, scope of services etc.
This post breaks down the five main reasons your quotes aren’t getting results.
Are these the only factors causing your quotes to fail? No. But they are a great starting point if you want to ensure sales success.
Build credibility, follow up, properly qualify your leads (and attract the right leads in the first place) and keep your website up to date. It’s really that easy to boost your sales conversion rate.
“What are some of the reasons that you’ve lost quotes before?”
Technowand is one of Canberra’s top rated IT companies. If you need a hand with attracting the right kind of leads, automating your quote processes or crafting a website that grabs attention for all the right reasons, why don’t we have a chat?
Eddie looks after marketing campaigns for Ironclad. In his pre-tech life, he worked as a journalist on the San Francisco Peninsula. Off hours, he dreams of England.