How to Follow up on Quotes Without Being a Nuisance

Hate following up on quotes? Then it's time to change your perspective!

1st October 2015Jonathan MillsJonathan Mills

I’ve seen even the most confident salespeople baulk at one thing: being asked to follow up on quotes.

So if you’re happy to take incoming enquiries, even to help customers through the process of providing a quote, but feel extremely reluctant when it’s time to follow up, here’s what you need to know.

 

Excuses, excuses.

 

There are all kinds of excuses for not following up on quotes, but by far the most common one is feeling like you’re being a nuisance or like you’re intruding.

You may also use the excuse of labeling the customer as a time waster, or saying that they were just price shopping you. This lets you off the hook for the call back, because what’s the point in following up with someone who’s not really interested?

Or the problem may lie a bit deeper — maybe you’re actually lacking confidence in yourself and your ability to sell, your company, or your product.

 

But actually…

 

Calling back to follow up on a quote isn’t being a nuisance or wasting your time. It’s actually just basic customer service. If you truly believe in yourself and in your company or product, then by following up, all you’re doing is helping someone connect with a product or service that you know will benefit them.

Also, there’s really no such thing as a time waster. They must have had some level of interest to get in touch with you in the first place, so if they were apathetic by the time the conversation was over then the problem lies somewhere in your rapport building or sales technique.

Above all, you’ve really got to build up your confidence and your belief in yourself and what you’re selling, otherwise you’ll never really be able to create great sales results. (Need help with that? Start here.)

 

A few other tips…

 

Connect with your potential clients initially so that you convert more during the first conversation. Make sure to ask about any lingering questions they have and answer them then.

Remember, it’s not about price! Even if someone is price shopping, they’re still going to lean heavily towards buying from someone they’ve felt personally connected to and can trust.

Pre judgement is the killer of sales. You can never really tell whether someone’s going to be interested in buying from you, so lose your assumptions, ask open questions, develop a rapport, and see where it goes.

 

Until next time,

 

Jonathan

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2 Responses to “How to Follow up on Quotes Without Being a Nuisance”

  1. George Gubas

    Hi Jonathan
    Thanks for the tips in this piece. I admit when I read the headline I thought you were going to address the issue of how to hold the actual conversation when following up quotes.

    In my experience it is usually about keeping your name (and your USPs) in front of the prospect so that they remember you when they are ready to buy whatever it is that you have proposed. But too often salespeople revert to the simple “have you had a chance to make a decision yet ..? etc. Calling too many times with that approach is definitely in danger of being a nuisance.

    Do you have any other thoughts about the type of conversation to have when following up a quote?

    Regards … G.

    Reply
    • Jonathan Mills

      Jonathan Mills

      Hi George
      First, many apologies for the late responses – a little bug meant your comment was placed in the spam box in error.
      Thanks for your thoughts. I definitely agree that keeping your name/brand alive in the potential client’s consciousness until they are ready to buy is paramount.

      In answer to your question I think it’s worth going back to the moment you deliver the proposal i.e. to set joint expectations based on the relationship to date. So for a B2B example, where it’s been agreed to supply a quote/proposal via email, I’m always tempted to put in the accompanying email and the proposal something like… “I will give you a call on xxxxxday for your thoughts though please feel free to contact me if you want to speak sooner”.

      That sets an initial expectation, with the exact day selected depending on what you know already about their overall timetable for the process.

      Note here that I’m asking for their thoughts and not a decision. To them, a decision puts too much pressure on too soon. “Thoughts” gives them some leeway and offers more flexibility in perspective and therefore they are more likely to accept and welcome the follow up call.

      When making that follow up call, assuming they haven’t been in touch beforehand, it’s important to reiterate that you’re asking for their thoughts and NOT a decision. This takes the pressure off both parties and is more likely to lead to a meaningful decision rather than ‘I haven’t seen it yet’ and so on. Whilst any sales person will want a decision, directly asking for it is more likely to get an instant ‘no’. Asking for their thoughts can illicit any lingering objections and give a clearer indication of how close you are to a yes and whether you can ‘work with them’ to bridge the gap.

      If they say ‘leave it with me a while’ or ‘call me again soon’ then it’s important to clarify what ‘a while’ or ‘soon’ is in their world. To some it could be days, to others weeks – and this is where sales people can irritate those purchasing. If the buyer’s version of ‘soon’ is about four weeks – and the sellers interpretation of soon is two weeks, contacting after two weeks is likely to irritate the buyer. And it can work the other way round too. So I’d say something like “when you say soon, what are we talking, a week or two or a month or two” and they will generally give you a firm answer of when they expect you to get in touch. You can then say “great, well if I haven’t heard anything from you in the meantime I’ll give you a call around then”

      The same if they say “I’ll let you know when I’ve made a decision”. My responses would be “Great, what sort of timescale are you working with here” to which they might reply oh at least a couple of months. I’d then respond “that’s good to know, if I haven’t heard from you in xxx (their date plus a bit added on!) I’ll give you a call to see where you are (once again no decision language)

      By the way if these scenarios repeat themselves then have a look at this blog which could help close some of those loops

      Hope this helps
      Jonathan

      Reply

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