Jan 15, 2024 • Podcast

How should I follow up on a quote?

Paul provides insight into a more effective follow-up strategy.

Show Notes

You must create value at every interaction with the customer.

In your follow-up, ask the customer questions that will call attention to your strengths vis-à-vis your competition’s weaknesses.

So, do you remember how to address an envelope? Sending a good old-fashioned letter of thanks builds familiarity and shows professionalism.

Create and provide content that addresses the challenges your customers are experiencing.

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How should I follow up on a quote?

(Transcribed from podcast)

So one of the biggest challenges that salespeople face is customer follow-up. And this is especially true when it comes to following up on a quote or a proposal or you submitted some sort of information or pricing, and you want to figure out where you stand with the customer—if they’re going to move forward with you, if they review the quote, if they have questions.

Now one of the worst things that we can do as salespeople is reach out to that customer and say, “Hey, I just wanted to follow up on that quote. Did you get a chance to look at that proposal?” All we’re doing here is, we’re begging the customer to either give us a price objection or just say, “You know what? I’m thinking about it.” So we’re going to address this on today’s episode. And what sparked this was actually a recent training. I was working with a company in the moving and storage business. So, this company, they’re submitting a quote or a proposal and the customer is making their decision maybe within a few days, even a few hours of receiving that quote. So yes, they need to follow up quickly. And so I’m going to share some ideas and insights to help salespeople everywhere follow up more effectively.

Now before we do that, just a reminder, pick up your copy of Value-Added Selling. We’re on the fourth edition of the book and it’s available wherever you get your books: Amazon, Barnes & Nobles. You name it, you can find it there. Value-Added Selling is your go-to guide to sell more profitably. Pick up your copy today. Read it, apply it, be more successful.

So let’s get back to it. A couple of things to remember when you’re following up with customers: number one, each touch point (so every phone call, email, whatever it is, text message), it must create value for the customer. If you send an email or call the customer and just say, “Hey, did you review that quote,” it creates no value for the customer. So we need to make sure we create value at every interaction. Keep that in mind as I share these tips and ideas.

So, the first thing I would do especially for this particular selling environment in the moving and storage industry, with this industry, there’s only a certain amount of capacity, right? There’s X number of people that want to move and there’s only so many trucks. So what I would do, I would submit the quote, and then a couple of days later I would make the customer aware of any scheduling changes. So here’s how this may look. Let’s say it’s an email. You email the customer saying “Thank you for the opportunity to earn your business. Just to let you know, our scheduling has changed slightly. Here are now the available dates.” What you’re doing is you’re providing some value-added follow up. You’re letting them know that the schedule has changed. This also highlights the fact that your company is in high demand. This will help establish urgency, and we’re not reaching out saying, “Act now, or you’re going to lose your spot,” you’re just letting them know about the dynamic scheduling of your industry. So, I would highlight that it’s creating value as well.

The second tip: provide the customer with a checklist that creates value. Moving is one of the most stressful events that people go through. So for this particular example, I’m going to send an email to the customer maybe a day after I deliver the quote and say, “Thanks for the opportunity. I came across this moving checklist and I wanted to share it with you,” and share a checklist. It could include basic stuff like change the address, alert your utility companies, things like that. Either way though, you’re creating value by sending information.

Now again, you’re not directly asking the customer, “Hey, did you happen to look at my quote?” Because they’re going to think about it. They’re going to say, “Oh yeah, you did send me a quote.” So again, you’re creating value; you’re demonstrating your professionalism. That’s going to be critical.

Tip number three: we also want to create what we call a 10-things-to-consider list. So a 10-things-to-consider list is a list of value-added extras that highlight your strength. And here’s what this list will look like: “Mr. Customer, as you decide on a moving partner, here are 10 things to consider.” So this list is a list of value-added extras that will highlight your strengths. You want to email that to the customer, send it as a follow up after the proposal. Whatever you do, get this list in front of the customer.

So here, here’s the cadence. You send the proposal over to the customer. Maybe a day or two later, you reach out again and say, “Mr. Customer, as you make your final decision, here are a few things to consider,” list the value-added extras, at the end, “Please let me know if you have any questions.” Again, you’re following up by creating value. And you’re not directly asking if they’ve received or reviewed the quote. Critical.

Another technique. This is, I love this. This is called providing three questions. And it’s simple because you provide the customer with three questions. So let’s say you submit your proposal, and rather than reaching out a day later and saying, “Hey, did you look at my number? Did you look at my quote? Did you look at the proposal,” all that, respond to the customer by saying or emailing,

“As you make your final decision, here are three important questions to ask yourself….” And these three questions should highlight either your value-added strengths as an organization or highlight your competitor’s weaknesses. This is critical. If you know your competitor has a weakness, we want to expose that. Now, we don’t want to directly tell the customer, “Hey, that competitor that offered you a cheaper price has lousy customer service.” We don’t want to badmouth our competition, but it is okay to ask questions that will call attention to that competitor’s weakness. So, again, in an email or whatever it may be, send them three questions.

Now, another idea. One thing that I love to do is send letters. Send a physical letter to your customer. So let’s say you submit your proposal, whatever it may be, a day or two later, send a thank-you letter—a thank-you letter highlighting some of the value-added extras that your company has to offer. This is one more touch point with the customer. It builds familiarity, it demonstrates professionalism, and again, it’s an indirect way to follow up on the quote that you already sent. So send a physical letter.

Another way you can follow up with the customer is to direct them to your website. You know, most websites have a frequently asked questions section, an FAQ section. So once you submit your proposal, again, a day or two later, you can send your customer a follow-up email saying, “As you move, I’m sure you have many questions running through your mind. On our website, we have a list of frequently asked questions. Here’s a link. I would encourage you to view that.” So all you’re doing is you’re providing them with another resource. Again, it’s another touch point. You’re building familiarity, you’re staying visible, and you’re creating value.

Finally, create content that addresses the challenges your customers are experiencing. This is not complex. It’s not that hard to work with your marketing department and put together, I don’t know, maybe a dozen blog posts, a dozen articles that address some of the common concerns your customers have. Think about this, for a moving company, what are the three biggest mistakes that homeowners make when they move to their next home? What are those common mistakes? How could you write an article that addresses them, and then put that information on your website? Now, I would also create it as a standalone PDF or article, and then of course you can email that to your customer.

So again, the cadence is pretty simple. Put together the proposal, send it to the customer. A day later, reach back out and say, “I noticed this article on our company’s website. I thought you might find it interesting. It highlights the three biggest mistakes that homeowners make when they’re moving. Here you go. Please check it out. Have a great day.” Again, you’re creating value. It’s another touch point. You’re building familiarity.

Make it a big day.

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