Quoting to Convert - Tradies, it’s time you nailed it!

smart quoting

Your phone may be ringing all day and you may be doing a lot of quotes every week, but how many of those convert into actual jobs?

For most trade businesses this percentage is not as attractive as they would like.

It can be frustrating, especially when you have spent a lot of time and effort in putting that quote out, only to see the customer choose someone else over you.

Unfortunately working hard does not always equate to more profit. Quote conversion remains one of the biggest problems for Tradies, yet with the right approach you can actually win over 95% of your quotes.

A step by step approach from the first time a customer contacts you till the follow up is all you need to make sure you win that quote:

1. Screen customers before you quote them

First things first. It’s unlikely for you to win over 95% of the jobs you quote when you are quoting to the wrong customers.

Put systems and processes in place to create your ‘ideal customer profile’ so you can weed out tire-kickers before you start spending time on analyzing their job request and drafting up the quote.

This is an important qualifying round to screen customers before saying ‘Yes’.

In addition to the obvious questions like name, address and phone number, things as simple as their budget and time frame for the job, product required for installation, what aspect of the job are they most focused on (quality, time or cost) and some photos of the job that needs to be done can be a few quick and simple questions you can ask them through your website ‘request a quote form’ or any job management app you use to receive requests and send out quotes.

If they qualify, it’s time for your second contact with them. If not, don’t keep them waiting. Call back and tell them that you won’t be able to help out on this one.

2. Make sure you meet the potential customer in person

If you are sending your quotes via emails and wondering why they are not converting, step back and think again. You are missing the human element that all businesses need to thrive on.

Meeting a potential customer in person is your opportunity to say a lot more than what a written piece of quote can. Be accommodating when booking in a time for quote and show up when you said you will.

Talk them through the quote, answer any questions they may have and show them why they would be better off hiring you over someone else.

This is the time to sell yourself and tell them what you are able to do for them. Listen closely to their needs and understand the project scope and the potential challenges you may encounter in order to avoid over-quoting and risk losing the job, or worse, under-quoting and cover up the difference out of your own pocket.

3. Pack your quotes with as much information as you can

Ask yourself if you were a customer, what sort of things you would like to know when deciding to approve or reject a quote.

Your quote can say a lot about your business and this is probably the only thing customers will have to make up their minds. So pack it with as much information as you possibly can.

Briefly talk about your company. Any warranties that you provide on installations/ repairs, percentage of satisfied customers you have served over the years, any offers up for grabs etc. If you are one of those who credits back the quotation charges once you win the job, make sure you mention this in the quote.

Consider accompanying your written quote with a detailed information pack that showcases the kind of work you are known for along with customer reviews and testimonials. Mentioning any trade associations, memberships or accreditations you have is a great way to promote trustworthiness.

4. Think twice before itemizing too much

Itemizing at the time of quoting is a sure shot way of letting customers cut out things to save money or trying to do certain things themselves.

Go ahead and mention the total amount for materials and labour costs plus the GST because that’s what a quote is all about and be done with it.

If you go to the extents as to justify mark ups for fuel, sourcing, time and labour on handling materials it will only end up making customers feel that their Tradie is ripping them off. Any trade discounts you get on specific materials are yours to keep, rather than passing them on.

Instead you can add a list of inclusions in your quote so the customer feels that they are getting more value for their money. This list of inclusions should be enough to highlight things that you are doing free of charge.

Make sure you are well protected by adding your payment terms and things such as quote expiry date and cancellation fee.

5. Strike when the iron is hot

You have spent an hour or two traveling to the customer, inspecting the site and listening to their requirements, don’t let the hard work go to waste just because you were not sure of something or already had other work lined up.

Letting their request for quote linger for too long will only invite them to look around for more quotes and possibly forget about you altogether.

Quote them before you leave and your win is guaranteed.

If the job is too big and requires you to check a few things before you can give them an accurate quote, do it the same day if not on the spot.

6. Follow up consistently and correctly

Ideally you would want to make the next contact with your potential customer within the next 2 days after your visit or your email quote. If they don’t get back to you within this time, you should.

Spending a few minutes on a quick SMS, email or call will significantly increase your chances of sealing the deal.

It’s possible they got busy with something else and forgot to call you, someone else approached them before you did or they simply changed their mind.

Either way, you don’t want to be hanging in limbo.

A quick SMS that reminds them of your visit and asks them to get back to you if they need more info, should be good for starters. While they think over your quote use this time to provide more value rather than being pushy. It could an email informing them of an offer, a list of FAQs, your newsletter or a simple article on a topic of their interest.

Consider creating a follow up process by automating your follow up emails spacing them at week’s interval. In between, text and emails, take time to call them personally and ask if they would like go ahead anytime soon.

If they still don’t get back to you put the customer in your long-term follow up schedule, and call them again after a month.

Wrapping up:

Winning more quotes is a matter of how badly you want it and how far are you ready to go to convert it. If it means challenging your status quo and adding more efficiency to your processes, do not hesitate. If it requires spending a little more time with the potential customer paving the ground for a solid relationship, do so. Think long-term. Develop credibility. Don’t just tell them how good you are, show it to them!

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Wardah Wadood

Wardah Wadood

Content Manager and Community Strategist at i4Tradies | Social Media Evangelist | Writer | Editor