Designing and implementing a thorough quotation preparation and follow-up process is essential to drive increased sales. If you are leaving the quotation process to chance, these simple steps will improve your quote-to-sales conversion rates.
A. Preparation Phase
Who is the Buyer?
Quoting to people who do not have the authority to “buy” contributes to low quote-to-sales conversion rates. To identify the buyer, ask: “Who makes the final decision on this quotation’s approval. Is it just yourself or are there others involved?” or, “What is the approval process for this quotation?”
While it is not always possible to deal with buyers direct, understanding the decision-making process; and, where possible, directing your quote to the buyer will save time and improve your success.
It’s All About The Client
When we communicate according to what is essential to the buyer, it builds rapport and trust, which ultimately help sales. Listen carefully to potential clients and they will teach you what’s important to them. And then, if they want detail, dig into the specifics. If they want fast facts, then fast facts it is. If they want to share a laugh, be available.
Find Out What’s Driving The Purchase
When asked to prepare a quotation, it is essential to understand what is “driving” the buying decision, which often has an emotional component. For example, a budding celebrity chef/entrepreneur seeking a new kitchen fitout would most likely have a different emotional profile (underpinning their decision-making process) than Mary, who adores serving delights from her kitchen to family and friends.
Showing your celebrity chef the multiple Insta-worthy vantage points of your design may just put you ahead of the pack even if your price is higher. While for Mary, it might be more important to highlight your design’s special seating provisions for family and friends so she may enjoy their company while she cooks. Noting such thoughtful inclusions on your quote demonstrates you understand their personal needs and will work with their preferences.
What’s Their Budget?
Ascertaining the buyer’s cost expectations helps to:
• Understand whether their budget is realistic, thus saving time preparing a quote that couldn’t be accepted anyway.
• Quote within their budget expectations.
• Create a conversation for increasing budget if needed.
It can be as simple as asking, “do you have a budget allocated for this?” By discussing money upfront, it’s easier to tailor your quote within parameters that suit the client.
B. Submission and Follow Up Phase
The Power of Assumption
Assuming the work is yours makes it easier for the buyer to decide. So, let them know when you will send the quote and schedule a time with them to discuss it. Leading strongly through the conversation, providing options along the way, directs them in the buying process. When they confirm “yes, this quote reflects our needs”, it is essential to book the job start date, as this consolidates their decision.
When They Object
Believe it or not, objections are the best news. When the buyer has a problem with your quote, it means they are engaged enough to problem solve it with you. They haven’t thrown it in the bin. To deal with this, prepare by writing down sample responses to common objections. For example:
• Objection: “I’ll call you back.”
• Response: “Great. Would this Friday morning or afternoon work for a call?”
• Objection: “Your price is too high.”
• Response: “How far apart are we?”
• Objection: “I have to check with the missus.”
• Response: “I could drop in tonight or tomorrow morning to take her through the quote. Which would suit?”
The more practised you are at overcoming objections, the more your sales will escalate.
C. Evaluation and Process Corrections
Tracking a few simple measures will help you build on strengths and correct weaknesses. For example:
• Overall conversion ratio – Quotes submitted: Quotes won.
• Conversion rates within price bands – E.g., $10,000 to $40,000; $40,001 to $100,000. This indicates your business’s most competitive price points and those that may require attention.
• Conversion rates by applicable employees. This will indicate the highest performers, enabling you to establish their “best practices” across the broader team.
A Final Note
Sales are about mutually beneficial outcomes. A thorough quotation process increases sales, and improves the client experience. It’s a win all round.
For more on the sales process, read: Sales – It’s All About Process Not Personality. It’s one of the chapters in my latest book: How Efficiency Changes The Game and can be purchased here.
Photo by ThisIsEngineering