Speed may only be part of the equation for winning more of the right kind of projects for your business, but it’s an important part.
You’ll have no idea from the outset whether a client will simply accept the first realistic quote they are offered or have a policy of only considering the first few that cross their desk. Therefore, it makes good commercial sense to approach every quote as if one of these is the case, making the pace at which you are able to submit your accurate and considered quote, paramount to your business success.
You can be sure that your competitors will be working hard to get their quotes in before you.
After years working in and around trades and the building sector we have a good deal of experience in the do’s and don’ts of rapid quote turnarounds and why it is so important to get this right to win more projects.
The problem is that speed and accuracy often seem to be two ends of the same scale. An accurate quote takes time to put together and a quick quote can have accuracy issues.
Speedy, off the cuff, guestimations may be ok for some small and simple jobs, but anything from a change in price and availability from your suppliers to a minor miscalculation could mean a job underestimation that threatens your chances of ever making any money from it.
On the flipside there’s the carefully calculated quote that takes you all evening to put together, where quantities are checked and rechecked, prices are compared against competing suppliers and rough plans are drawn up so you can be sure to have complete confidence in your costings… but after all that you find that you’re too late, a competitor has snuck in to take the last spot on your customer’s desk for consideration.
The larger or more complex the moving parts of a project become, the more time it will take to put together a considered quote for a client.
So, how can you get your quotes in faster?
- Rapid enquiry response
Just like in any race, and I’m afraid you do need to consider this a race, the one out of the starting blocks first has an advantage. So, when someone needs to get hold of you to quote on a new job, how will you make sure that you’re first to respond? The answer is to ensure that, no matter how they wish to get in touch – email, phone, text – you’re able to receive and respond rapidly. It’s not always possible to answer your phone or check for new emails, so, have a member of staff (or if you’re on your own, maybe a family member) who can identify and respond to enquiries immediately. Or, invest in a VA (virtual assistant) or phone service. Some will be as little as £20 a month – they’ll answer the phone or pick up emails and alert you to the new enquiry more quickly – which will be money well spent if this means your quick response results in you winning more jobs.
- Systemise your quotation process
Issues of speed and accuracy can both be addressed with the development of a streamlined and systemised quotation process in your business. If you have staff, make one your dedicated individual for calculating estimates and quotes as specialisation is often a route to greater speed and accuracy. Develop a quotation process, a step-by-step flow for you to follow every time to teach yourself to price up jobs more quickly, as practice makes perfect and repetition can provide confidence, clarity and speed. Or you could spend the first hour of each day updating the prices from each of your suppliers for all of the materials and equipment you might need on your most common jobs so you have them at hand should a new quote request come in.
- Follow-ups that convert
Once your estimate has been submitted it’s important to follow up. The question here is, will you look too desperate if you contact them too soon or will you miss out to competitors who showed willing by getting in touch sooner than you? The answer is to get one of the many tools out there which will let you know once your estimate email has been opened. You can then decide how long afterwards you should follow up, confident in the knowledge that they’ve already seen your prices so you can strike while the iron’s hot.
Custom Quoter does all this for you. It’s a cloud-based quotation tool like no other, able to help you to build systemised quotation and estimation templates that can automatically pull in supplier prices and calculate materials and equipment required on a job from the dimensions and specifications you gather from the client. It can create and send your estimates and quotes, let you know once they’ve been opened and allow you to set automated customisable follow-ups. Custom Quoter is a price comparison tool, an estimation and quotation tool, and an email follow-up tool, to help you to beet the competition to a quote every time and convert more business to help your company grow.
Best of all, it fits in your pocket as you can access Custom Quoter on via your smartphone so you can quote from the van, while eating you lunch, before you go to bed, or anywhere there’s a signal.