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How soon should I follow up on a quotation?

Several factors play a role in how soon – and in what format – you should follow up with a customer.

Greg Mason

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What is the best way to follow up after sending a customer a quotation?  I usually send a follow up email. What is the best wording for the email to get customers attention to be interested in using our services?

I am going to assume that the quotation was requested by the prospective customer, and was not an unsolicited quotation sent as part of a marketing strategy to generate leads. So the question is really around the best way to convert the prospect into a customer.

Every industry is different. In some industries, an email quote and follow up is sufficient. In other cases, you would need to schedule a face to face meeting to take the customer through the quote. To further complicate matters, every customer is different.

There is no magic formula to apply and you need to treat each case individually. But the common denominator is that you are asking your customer to part with hard earned cash, and you need to give them reason to part with it happily!

Let’s rewind…

You need to return to the point where you first identified the prospect’s needs – before the quote was sent – and ask yourself if you fully understood the exact needs of the customer.

  • If speed was the key criteria, then match that need by sending a quote through promptly and following up with a phone call, “to ensure we can deliver before your deadline”.
  • If it was quality, then match that need by emailing the quote with a testimonial from a happy, past or existing customer and offer samples or site visits to reassure them of quality.

If you have identified what is important to the customer, you can use these criteria when you follow up, to reinforce why your business is the best for the job.

Related: How to Avoid Bad Debt Clients

Building rapport

Building rapport is critical in landing customers. It is a proven fact that personal touch is more effective at increasing your conversion rate, so an email may not always be the best solution. It is difficult to build a relationship in writing. Pick up the phone! Ask them:

  • Have you received the quote I sent through?
  • Is everything in order?
  • Is there anything else I can send you to assist in making your decision?
  • Can we go ahead with the paperwork?

Remember to take your cue from the customer. While some customers may appreciate the phone calls, a busy person who does not have time for small talk may prefer email correspondence. You need to read your customer well at the first encounter and adapt your style accordingly.

Related: Perhaps it’s Time to Re-look Your Sales Strategy

Showing value

Run them through the quote so that they understand the value being offered. By explaining and demonstrating the value that is not always visible in the quote, you reduce the most common email response of budget restraint. By asking questions you prompt communication.

After experiencing personalised attention to their needs, the odds of a prospect not buying will be considerably less, unless of course your product is simply not suitable.

Greg Mason is the CEO of bizHQ – The Business Headquarters – and is one of the most experienced and acclaimed business and executive coaches in the country. He draws on his diverse experience in business, including accounting, HR, IT, strategy and business planning, change management, project management and programme management to assist businesses in identifying their business objectives and coaching them through a process to realise their potential.

Sales

How do I make a positive first impression with my clients?

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so be sure you don’t screw it up.

Marc Pillay

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How do I make a positive first impression with my clients?

Everyone makes mistakes. Fortunately, however, they can be rectified in many cases. If the wrong amount of money is transferred, it can be reversed; if the wrong information is given, it can be corrected with a polite apology.

In business matters too, there is a ‘second chance’ that allows for an error to be straightened out and which sometimes can even be turned into an advantage. But there is one time when this is not the case: The first impression.

Making a good first impression is an opportunity that must be maximised. The old saying holds true: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Research has shown that first impressions are of critical importance for three out of four buyers – that is a whopping 75%. Some aspects of your external appearance play a role here, but mostly it is what you say, how you say it and also what is conveyed non-verbally.

It’s all about tone of voice, gestures, facial expressions and body language, and it’s about capturing the mood in which the customer finds them self at that moment.

The following points can help you make a positive first impression on the customer:

  • Approach the customer attentively and with a friendly smile
  • Observe the customer – how do they respond? Are they reserved or receptive, cautious or forthcoming?
  • Take the emotionality of the customer seriously
  • Try to adjust yourself to the mood of the customer
  • Give the customer the feeling that you accept and understand them. Create common ground this way, which will leave the customer with good memories and which will shape their future relationship with you.

Do you already take all of those factors into consideration? If not, try to pay attention to them, and you will quickly see that you will have greater success with them.

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Sales

What’s the most important thing to remember when I’m interacting with a customer?

The one surprisingly simple success tactic that works every time.

Marc Pillay

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What’s the most important thing to remember when I’m interacting with a customer?

Customers want to be taken seriously. Someone who invests money does not only want to receive a product or service. It’s also important to make the customer feel appreciated and on an equal playing field with the sales person.

To do this is surprisingly simple: Address him by his name. By doing this throughout the sales conversation, not only when you greet him, your communication with him becomes much more personal and ‘warmer’.

Nothing is more unpleasant than talking to a person face to face not knowing his name – this has certainly happened to all of us at some point. But how can we possibly remember the names of all our customers?

Here are a number of tips that will help you:

  • Be truly interested in the customer and do not only pretend to pay attention
  • Carefully memorise his name during the first meeting, and write it down if necessary – it is no problem if the customer notices you doing this
  • Repeat the name from time to time during the conversation
  • Memorise the person behind the name – face, figure, voice, distinctive characteristics
  • Try to link the customer’s name to an image. Convert his name into a picture, and link objects or situations to it. The saying also applies in this case: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

You’ll see that after just a short while, the names of your customers will stick in your memory much more easily, and your customer interaction will become more promising.

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Sales

How can I make more sales?

Taking a good look at your existing sales strategy may reveal some areas for improvement.

Tim Berry

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My sales are ticking over nicely but I’d like to increase them now, as I feel that we have the capacity to meet increased demand. Can you give me any advice on how to go about growing sales?

The first thing you need to do is reassess your sales strategy and its impact on sales. Look at what’s working and what isn’t. Once you’ve done that, you can consider introducing some new sales strategies, such as finding new ways to sell more to existing customers, or even how you can find brand new customers. Perhaps you’re charging too little. And your marketing strategy could probably do with an overhaul to ensure it’s relevant in today’s marketplace.

Read the full article here.

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