I’m a business coach and I’ve recently had two situations where clients of mine have said something like, “I’m not sure if I’m going to get the deal. I don’t know what to do”.
On both occasions simply calling the customer and having a conversation got them the job.
I’ll explain both situations because true stories help us understand concepts more clearly. The point I want to make is that calling and talking to your customers, particularly in that window between quoting them and securing the deal is part of your sales job and your responsibilities.
Too many tradies go out and meet a prospective client, prepare a quote, email it across and then stop there. They say things like “They call me if they’re serious”.
You should always present your proposal, not email it across.
And you should follow up!
This will instantly make you stand out and you should close the deal easily.
This shouldn’t be difficult or scary. It’s often as simple as asking “Are we doing it then?” or “Are you going to go ahead?” or whatever words suit the situation and sound natural for you.
Sending a quote vs closing the deal
There are a few things going on here:
- Your customer is deciding during this time. They may not comprehend what makes one quote superior to another. You can help them understand the advantages of your offer and push them to choose your business.
- They will have questions that need answering and they may not think of putting these questions in an email.
- If you’re not helping them or answering their questions another competing tradie may well be helping them out.
- If you don’t push people to make a decision they simply may not bother to get back to you.
Now, your own fear might be getting in the way of you calling, but it’s also true that pestering and begging will not get you what you want. The key to landing a contract is following up.
So, two stories.
Corey has a refrigeration mechanics business that does break-fix work for a reputable manufacturing business, he looks after their main site and has a good relationship with the MD.
They’ve acquired another business with another sizable facility which is looked after by someone else. Corey’s been trying to land that job for a little while now, but it turns out that the facilities manager there was giving the work to a mate at inflated prices. Though Corey had submitted a thorough proposal, there’s been talk (and follow-up conversations) about giving the current guy (the MD’s mate) another chance and Corey feels like the job simply isn’t his.
We talked, I encouraged him to call the MD, and he did. He got the job on the spot. When properly explained, Corey’s services were much more appealing. He offers an annual maintenance contract and all the break-fix work too.
Corey won on the relationship front, demonstrating his trustworthiness and honesty and also showing strong patience and persistence.
Matt builds partition walls for office fit outs and was quoting for a job to a large retailer. He called me frustrated and not sure what to do. The customer was concerned about the price. It was $100,000 or so but $30,000 was a special feature, a very expensive wall you could write on and it was holding up the job.
Matt called his customer and said “Authorise the rest, and we’ll get cracking, and work out the special wall later. I’ll go open book on it and put my margin on it when we’ve worked out the right solution”.
The client agreed to this situation and has solved the problem of it being too expensive by providing a solution that got things moving.
So for Matt and for everyone it’s a lesson to stay close to your customer while they’re deciding as you might just be able to help.
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