Customers are approaching you for business. But as soon as you quote a price, they seem to back off. What is it that you’re doing wrong? This post examines the possible reasons why your quotes aren’t winning over customers.
Firstly, well done for attracting customers in the first place. You’ve overcome the first hurdle – many companies struggle to generate interest in the first place. There is clearly interest in your business. But now you need to hold customers’ interest.
If you’re losing customers at the price quote stage, then you’re clearly doing something wrong while delivering your quote. Below are some of the possible things that are turning customers off.
You’re quoting too high
This is the most obvious reason as to why your quotes are failing to win over customers. Your pricing is way too high and customers are looking elsewhere for a cheaper rate. The fact that they are not returning to you after shopping around means that competitors are likely undercutting you.
It’s worth doing your research to find out exactly what prices other companies are offering. You may be able to find guides online that detail the average price offered by companies within your trade. Alternatively, don’t be afraid to ask customers if they’ve had any other quotes – and if so how much they’ve been quoted. In highly competitive industries, it’s common to do this so that companies can offer a price match guarantee (which involves promising to beat the prices offered by competitors).
Of course, it’s possible that there’s a competitor out there who is severely underpricing their service and making it hard for anyone else to compete. Now that certain services are becoming off-shored, it is becoming increasingly hard to offer the same prices – a company in India or China may be able to offer cheaper prices than that of the UK because they don’t have the same overheads or are more willing to live on a lower wage.
You have to therefore be realistic about how low you can price your service while still making a profit. If you can’t compete with foreign companies offering incredibly cheap rates, you need to show that you can outdo them in terms of quality of service (more about this in a moment).
You’re taking too long to give a price
Some companies fail to win over business because they take too long to provide a quote. Many customers aren’t patient enough to wait days to get a price and want a quote as fast as possible. Some customers don’t even take time to shop around and simply go with the first price they are offered (especially when it comes to urgent services like emergency plumbing or rare niche services). If you take too long to come back with a price quote, customers may approach another company – and if they get a quote from them first, they may choose them over you.
Try to find a way of providing quotes as soon as possible. Ideally, you should get back with a price within the same day. If you to plan a meeting with a customer first (such as surveying a house to provide a quote on a renovation), aim to get this scheduled as soon as possible. Once you’ve carried out your meeting, start doing your figures immediately.
Some companies have started using digital forms with automated quotes to help speed up the process. Such forms can ask for all the essential information necessary to help create an accurate price based on parameters set by you. If you have field employees, you may be able to use such technology to empower them to provide quick quotes. For example, an appliance repair company with a team of technicians may use field service quoting software to allow individual technicians to offer prices during call-outs.
An automated price may not always be possible to offer, in which case you need to just be willing to prioritise responding to price quote requests. If you get customers approaching you via email, make sure that you’re catching up on emails every day so that customers aren’t being ignored for days. Similarly, make it your mission to call back any customers whose calls you may have missed.
You’re not following up quotes
Once you’ve provided a quote, you also need to be prepared to follow-up that quote. While some customers will go with the first quote they receive, others will take their time to collect quotes and may be in no hurry to commit. In fact, some customers may not even be certain if they want your service. For example, a couple may be looking for a wedding photographer, but may not even be sure if they’re getting married yet.
Following up quotes can sometimes be a way of giving customers the push they need to commit. And your passion to win over their business may cause them to choose you over competitors. But just how soon should you follow up?
Well, it may depend on the industry. If it’s a service that people are likely to need imminently, you may want to follow-up a day later. If it’s something that a customer is scheduling far in advance, you may be able to leave it a few days to chase them up.
If you’ve only communicated via email so far, follow up with an email. If you’ve spoken on the phone or in person, don’t be afraid to call them. In both cases, try to personalise your follow up – a generic ‘dear sir/madam’ email may come off as cold and automated, so make sure to use their name and make references to their individual request as to show that you’re genuinely passionate about winning over their business.
You come across unprofessional
This is a fairly general reason as to why you may be failing to win over quotes, but it’s worth mentioning. While you may have initially convinced customers that you’re a company worth reaching out to, it’s possible to put customers off by acting unprofessionally while handling their quote request. This could include anything from sending an invoice with spelling mistakes to turning up to meet a client late for a pre-quote survey.
Make sure that you come across professionals in every way when interacting with any potential client. Professionalism can help win over customers by suggesting that your service is of high quality. Even if a competitor has offered a lower price, some customers may still choose you if they think you are more professional and therefore more capable of doing the job to a better standard. Things to consider could include:
- How you dress and physically present yourself
- How punctual you are to a meeting
- How professional your invoice/email looks (does it have an email signature?)
Your payment options are too limited
When it comes to high value products and services, consider how your customers are likely to pay. A lot of companies rely on cash or bank transfers, but accepting card payments can be worthwhile too. In fact, it’s now become more popular for tradesmen to carry card readers that accept credit cards. This can be convenient for many consumers and can increase their spending power.
Payment plans can also be an option worth considering for expensive services and products. This could include taking a deposit upfront and then letting customers pay the rest later – either all at once or in instalments. Some companies even team up with lenders to provide finance. This can make your service potentially more affordable, and could prevent customers looking elsewhere just because your payment options are limited.