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Sealing the Deal: Quote to Sell

May 14, 2024 By The Siren Of Support Leave a comment

Finding a company to purchase a high dollar item from, or a contractor to do a big job seems a lot like what I imagine online dating to look like. 

Swipe left, swipe right. Running online searches to verify credibility, asking around to see if friends have ever utilized their services, triple checking to make sure there are no pending legal cases. Like, ignore, block. 

Whether it’s your first time, or your hundredth, the great search for a reliable and compatible partner that you actually like can be intimidating, overwhelming, and exhausting. It’s no wonder so many succumb to DIY. 

My home is in a rather rural area of town with a plethora of wildlife. I battle the chipmunks in my garden, adore the newborn fawn in the backyard, and slightly fear the black bear taking a stroll just a few blocks away. We have learned to live harmoniously together. All of us expect the birds that feel my cedar sided home is an irresistible abode. Year after year, we have patched the holes after the babies fly the coop, just to have the little peckers return to make new holes and new batches of hatchlings. 

I realized I couldn’t win the battle, the siding has more holes than a habitual catfisher’s profile. It was time to dip my toes in the contractor dating pool. Day one, I scrolled many websites, read reviews, asked for recommendations and decided on my first two potential candidates. I swiped right. I gave away my contact information and went into details regarding my needs, wants, and desires. I left out the part about taking long walks on the beach, as that felt a bit cheesy. 

Both prospective companies reached out in a timely manner. I agreed with both to set up first dates to meet, get a feel for each other, and see if they were man enough to take on my job.

Benchmark Exteriors representatives called directly to set up the date and time. Upon arrival Nate and Austin were on time, attentive, respectful and didn’t push to seal the deal. I really liked both of them, their attention to detail, the fact they made me feel comfortable even though I was clearly out of my league. We shook hands and they promised to get back in touch with a proposal. 

The other company emailed me back, set up an appointment and even texted to confirm the time and place. The guy talked for an hour, I stopped listening half way through, but he was so focused on the sound of his own voice that it didn’t matter. While the experience was less than exhilarating, I’m a bit desperate and I did ask that an estimate be sent over.  

Two guys (well three, but that’s my business), two companies, same industry, polar opposite experiences. I hadn’t yet made up my mind as I was waiting on quotes, but I knew in my heart of hearts who I wanted to receive that “good morning” text from. 

Your potential customer knows within minutes whether or not they want to do business with you. What is in your control to ensure a proposal gets accepted and you don’t end up denied or ghosted? 

Communication: If you say you’re going to call, call. Don’t text, don’t email, don’t even resort to a love letter in the mail. Many online forms now ask for a customer’s preference for a contact method. By ignoring their request and communicating in a way they clearly noted as not preferred, shows the customer you are not listening, and that only your needs matter. Benchmark hit the mark when they picked up the phone and called. After the first few conversations it is acceptable to adjust communication tactics (with approval) to suit the needs of the interaction. I don’t need a phone call everytime I cross your mind, a text will do. 

Follow Up and Follow Through: We talked, we had a good time, we learned things about each other. The quote was received as promised in a timely manner. Rather than sit idle to receive feedback, reach out. Ask if anything needs to be clarified, or just to ensure that your message was delivered. There’s nothing worse than discarding a potential match simply because technology failed. My reps reached out on a consistent, yet acceptable schedule. Love bombing your new friend sets an unrealistic bar that will often lead to mistrust when it can no longer be maintained.

Be Real: Every public facing representative has their “customer service” voice. We all put our best personality on at the beginning, but don’t fake it if you don’t have to. A relationship built on a lie will never last. Match your clients level of professionalism, while maintaining your own comfortableness in speaking. While I still haven’t gotten Austin any closer to an obscenity than “heck”, I’ll forgive it as they check the rest of the boxes. Read your audience and adjust your level of ma’am’s and sir’s to an appropriate level. Don’t be so cautious that you ruin the chance to connect. We are all human, we all laugh and fumble words at times. No matter what you are selling, being in the people business is the most lucrative. Ace that, and you can sell anything. 

Willingness to Compromise: Relationships are a two way street requiring compromise and conversation. If you aren’t giving what’s needed, or getting your bucket filled it just won’t work. Break up now and save the heart ache for another day.

The quote came in a little higher than I had hoped. I stopped being as responsive. I gave the other guy some attention. I didn’t want to say no, but even with all the positives, money still matters. I tried and tried to move on and finally faced it and let Austin know their quote came in higher than I could handle. Previously, in life and love, I just shut my mouth and ghosted, but I’ve learned a few things over the years. I was rewarded for my expression as after some conversation and adjustment of materials the contract showed a cost that worked within my budget. I could have my cake and eat it too. We were past the first date stage, so I was definitely getting dessert. 

Quote to Sell: As a sales rep, if you are not invested in your customers they see it, hear it and feel it. If you are simply biding time and waiting for a better gig to come along your proposals will be half-assed, your conversation will lack depth, and you’ll find your closing rate to be slim to none. I’m sure my Benchmark rep is seeing other customers, however I was always made to feel like a priority. Relationships take work, if you’re not ready to put in the effort, get out of the way and let a real (sales)man seal the deal. Be the person you’d want your kid to buy from. 

The contract is signed and the work will begin soon. The birds will have to find a new place to shack up. 

Anyone can sell siding and a roof, or a transmission, or even get a date, but it’s making it to home base that counts.

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