When you’re a freelancer, contractor, or small business owner, one of the things that can be particularly stressful and disappointing is regularly preparing quotes for jobs and then not getting the go-ahead. In addition, it’s also an issue if you’re not creating estimates properly in the first place, and regularly end up insufficiently compensated for your work because you underestimated the time or costs involved.
No matter what industry you’re in or the type of clients you have, there are some steps you can take, though, to increase your conversion rate and ensure you prepare a thorough quote each time. Read on for some tips you can follow today.
Remember the Importance of First Impressions
For starters, keep in mind that your likelihood of a quote being accepted is affected before you even begin to put any prices down on paper. When potential clients email, call, or otherwise contact you to find out about your services and to obtain a quote, they are immediately starting to decide whether or not they want to work with you.
As such, be professional at every stage of contact. Always answer the phone sounding friendly and open to communication, even if you’re busy and running out the door. As well, your website and social media pages need to be professional too, as these are commonly places where consumers search for services to begin with.
When you arrive at a venue to meet with a client, look the part too. This isn’t about wearing fancy clothes or tons of makeup, but rather about conveying the idea that you take care of yourself, take the meeting seriously, and haven’t just rolled out of bed and put on whatever was handy. In addition, in face-to-face meetings, always shake hands firmly, look people in the eye, smile often, and otherwise portray likeable, professional body language.
Really Listen to Customers
Another key aspect of converting more quotes into sales is being sure you listen to potential customers. Whether speaking to someone in person, over the phone, or via an online chat, you need to avoid interrupting them and taking over the conversation. Instead, give people room to talk about what they’re looking for (i.e. the exact problem(s) they need solved), any issues they may have had with providers in the past that has caused them to look elsewhere, and their budget.
Pay attention to not just what people say but also how they say it, and what they might be implying but not mentioning in words. The more you concentrate on listening intently to people the better able you will be to work out what they’re looking for in a service provider. This will not only allow you to provide a better, more tailored quote, but will also make the person feel more comfortable in your presence and more likely to hire you.
Asking questions is another good way to increase your success rate. Once people have talked about their needs, think about what other information you require to best help them. Don’t forget to also find out if you’re speaking to the decision makers in the business or household as, if not, you may be wasting everyone’s time.
Find Ways to Make It Clear Why They Should Choose You
These days it’s easier than ever for consumers to research multiple service providers in their local area, and to find firms or contractors living elsewhere who can help them with their tasks from far away. As a result, you probably have more competition to go up against than ever and have to find a way to stand out.
Apart from your presentation skills, it’s also necessary to find ways to make it clear why you would be the best choice. Remember that this often isn’t just about price, either. Many people are looking to hire someone they know is reliable, will get things done in a timely manner, will be pleasant to deal with, and otherwise “ticks their boxes.”
To help you communicate the benefits of hiring you over someone else, think about your USP – that is, your unique selling proposition. What is it that you provide that other companies or contractors won’t, or cannot? This could be about your qualifications or experience; level of customer service and availability; results; guarantee; or any number of other factors.
Ensure Your Estimates are Professional, Clear, and Detailed
Lastly, when it comes time to provide a quote or estimate to a potential customer, make sure you give yourself enough time to do this well. For starters, provide a professional, clear, and detailed document in writing so that you and the client both know exactly what is and isn’t included in the price.
To save yourself time, rather than manually creating a new document each time you can utilize one of the free online estimate templates you’ll find with an internet search. Then, your quote should include a breakdown of all the costs involved in the job (e.g. the parts or materials, your labor, and other fees factored in), plus a specific number of days the quote will be valid for. Also, don’t forget to make it easy for people to come back to you with a response.