In our previous post (Why tradies must follow up after quoting) we discussed why it is important to follow up on quotes, but when should you follow up, and how do you do it without being pushy?
Here are some simple tips for your follow up process before and after quoting to help you get that job.
Keep notes on your conversation
This may be obvious for some, but many tradies skip this part. All of your follow-up communication with the customer is much easier if you remember the details about their job and any specifics brought up during your conversations.
Trying to remember when you called and what you talked about is difficult when you have lots of customers.
Take key notes on the conversation so you are not repeating yourself and sound like you didn’t listen to them. Also if they needed more information that you were going to send later, reading a note rather than trying to remember is much easier.
Note when the quote was sent to the customer
In addition to above, make a note when you sent the quote and time your follow up from when you sent it; this will involve a diary or digital calendar (such as on your email) to keep track of your follow up schedule.
If possible find out if the customer is planning to get more quotes from other tradies. You don’t want to follow up before they get other quotes or bother them soon after receiving someone else’s quote as you may sound pushy for an answer.
Find out the best way to contact them and at what time
With busy lives most customers will probably choose email as their preferred method of contact. Make sure you write down and double check the correct spelling of the email. Same goes for contact numbers. If they prefer to be contacted by phone, find out the best day and time to call
It’s no point in randomly choosing a time or day to follow up if your customer cannot answer the phone.
Inform them you will follow up after quoting
Gain points in customer service by letting customers know you value their business and want to have a professional relationship by following up after quoting.
Let them know that they have time to think over the quote and you can answer any questions they may have on follow up. Usually 7 to 14 days is enough time for people to make a decision.
Confirm they received the quote
This is especially important with emails going to junk or postal mail ending up lost or arriving slow, it is vital to check if the customer has received the quote.
Don't be pushy during this call, the aim here is to make sure they did actually receive the quote - however if they have received the quote then this follow up call could provide an opportunity to gently gauge their reaction to the quote price, their readiness to proceed now or later and the probability of getting that job if they are still considering other quotes from other competitors.
Making sure they have the quote you sent and asking where they stand on it is a good first step to finding out that your next step is. From here you can ask when the next best time to call back will be.
Repeat Follow Ups with a Reason
Repeat follow-ups are necessary if you want to win jobs. Many customers are getting several quotes and are more likely to go with the business that shows interest in their decision.
The key thing here is to try and judge how close the customer is to a decision, and not call too frequently to appear pushy and annoying.
Having a reason to call will help you appear more "courteous" than "pushy", so use this time to try and provide some value to the customer rather than just pushing for a yes/no answer.
It could be a courtesy call informing them that you may be unavailable during certain weeks, or that you finished another job sooner than expected and could start earlier. Or asking them if they don’t understand anything on the quote. This may help with their decision in going ahead
Establish a Process
Establish a process for your follow ups, here is an example that works for some businesses:
- 24 - 48 hours after quote: follow up to confirm they received quote
- 7 days after quote: follow up to ask about any questions they have
- 21 days after quote: follow up about any further questions and if they are planning to go ahead soon.
- If you still don't have a clear "yes" or "no" answer by now, then put them into a "long term follow up" schedule, and call them once every month to follow up.
This process will vary depending on your trade and the urgency of the job. Obviously if it was an emergency plumbing fix for a leak then you would follow up more frequently (and customers will likely give an answer much faster), but if you are a builder and the quote is for a renovation then the process often covers a much longer time frame.
Give them testimonials from other happy customers
Before you quote and in your follow up calls, you may find it useful to mention other work you are currently doing that is similar or work that you have previously completed for other happy customers.
If your previous customers are willing, provide testimonials on jobs you have done that are similar to what they are looking for, including before and after photos that help give customers a starting point on how experienced and professional your service is.
Use CRM software
If you find yourself jotting down notes, contact information or reminders on bits of paper that can get lost or forgotten then consider using CRM (customer relationship management) software on your mobile or tablet.
CRM software is handy to keep all your customers contact information, reminders, conversation notes and even quote information all together. With many CRM software storing information in the cloud, you can easily access information at home, in the office or on the go.
Whether you get the job or not, it is a good opportunity to ask the customer what made them make their decision and improve on that. It could be something simple such as the quote was not detailed enough and they weren’t sure what they were paying for.
Maybe they wanted to pay via a method you don’t accept. Maybe you couldn’t offer what they needed at the right time. Maybe they wanted testimonials or reviews from other customers using your service.
Always keep an open mind and learn and adapt if needed. Small changes in your business could mean the difference in getting the customers you need to keep work going.
Always Be Polite
Remember that whatever you do in follow up, be professional and courteous. You may not win every job you follow up on, but your chances increase if you do take a little time and effort. So pick up the phone, send an email or text to the customers you recently quoted for.
Following up quotes is a very important aspect of your business strategy, a professional business coach with experience in your industry will help establish a process with timelines that suit the type of work you do and the customers you deal with.
At Tradie Accelerator our training programs combine both coaching and mentoring to get the best results, so feel free to contact us from our contact page or if your prefer to talk to one of our consultants call 1300 658 403.