Benjamin Dyer, CEO of Powered Now, the business administration mobile App for building and construction, gives his views on how to win business.
Putting together quotes takes a lot of effort. That’s why it is particularly irritating when you lose a job after composing a difficult quote. Benjamin Dyer of Powered Now provides tips on how to keep this danger to a minimum.
I am a bit self-centred. That is, I see the world from my point of view. Funnily enough, so does everyone else, and that explains one of the problems of running a business.
Suppose I complete and send off a quotation, having worked hard on calculating volumes of materials required, then pulling together pricing and estimating the labour required. From my point of view I expect it to be opened immediately by the bright-eyed and enthusiastic recipient, who can’t wait to get back to me to book in the job.
Unfortunately, life’s not like that.
Although one of the single biggest complaints of homeowners dealing with the UK construction industry is that they can’t get quotes out of them, it unfortunately doesn’t mean they will necessarily read them when they are received!
Delivery of the quote
The first and most obvious point is to make sure that the quote has been received by your prospect. A great way to do this is use an alternative method to tell the prospect that it’s been sent. That’s why in the app from my company, we have the ability to send a quote by email but at the same time text the customer that it’s on its way. This is in addition to being able to print the quote out.
After all, the worst possible outcome is that you do lots of work on the quote, and it ends up in a spam folder while the homeowner (or contractor) is eagerly reading your rival’s proposal while wondering why you didn’t bother responding.
You also need to note in your diary when your quote went out and make a note of when to follow up. Pre-arrange your follow up with the customer if possible, but otherwise do it anyway. It’s best if you have a reason to call e.g. “I haven’t heard for a week, I just wanted to check the quote had got through and that everything was clear. Do you have any questions?” or “I had provisionally booked the team in for next Monday because you said there was a rush, I’m afraid I need a decision today else I won’t be able to stick to that timetable”.
Matthew Stevenson of fast growing The Landscape Company puts it this way “I always follow up with a text message to make sure they have received the emailed quote, and to ask them to feel free to get back with any questions”.
Inevitably, you won’t always win your bids. When this happens, speak to the prospect and thank them for the opportunity and wish them the best with their choice. That way if things go wrong or even if they go okay and they need another job, they will come to you. They may even recommend you to others.
If on the other hand you are rude you will probably find the prospects trashing your reputation, and they may even do it online where it could cause quite a bit of damage. Once you’ve done this you should ask the question “It would really help if you could tell me the main reason why I didn’t win this one as that helps me to improve for the future”.
Matty Stevenson again: “If I get an email back with bad news saying I haven’t got the job, I always respond saying thank you for the opportunity and thanks for responding and wishing them all the best. I also tell them that if they want anything in the future, to not hesitate to get in touch“.
One common problem is that the prospect decides not to go ahead straight away. Although they will promise to come back to you, this rarely happens. So make sure you drop them an email every few months asking if they are thinking about going ahead. Otherwise it will be out-of-site means out-of-mind.
Improve over time
You should keep a record of all leads including where they came from and what the result was. This helps you to understand which sources are working and hence where to focus sales and marketing efforts.
Don’t lose when you could win
Producing decent quotes is a lot of work. The most frustrating thing is having committed this work, to then lose the business when you might have won. Hopefully some of the pointers in this article can help.