I want to talk about not turning bids, quotes or proposals into jobs.
I was talking to a prospect the other day and he had only converted 1 lead out of 20 into a job. That’s only 5% conversion rate. In today’s market, if you can’t convert 50 or 60% or more then there is something wrong.
Now there are four main mistakes people make when trying to convert bids, quotes or proposals into jobs.
The first is not having a process, a lot of people wing it and then they can’t tell what works and what doesn’t work.
The second is not qualifying prospects, they drop everything and they race around for everyone that looks like they could be a possible prospect and don’t find out where they are on the buyer’s journey or even if they are a buyer.
The third is they have no control over the process and when they present their proposal they don’t ask the sale and end up in the fourth mistake which is what we call the “follow up death trap”. Where they ring up to find out if they won the job and find they get the run around like, “I’m just waiting for a few more prices to come in.”
So how can you fix this?
The first thing you need to do is to create a process, map out your sales process with all the tools that you need. The good thing about mapping out your process is once you build it, all you need to do is test and measure it and tweak what works and get rid of what doesn’t.
So what should be in your sales process?
The first is the tools to help you build rapport and one of those is how to answer your phone. Be professional, ask questions to help build rapport and use open-ended questions rather than questions that just get a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
With open-end questions, you get engagement and these are questions that normally start with who, what, when, where, how and most importantly why.
Questions also help you control the conversation process. For example, when you answer the phone and they bombard you with a heap of questions, you can gain control by just saying, “Just so that I can help you best, do you mind if I ask a few questions?” You can also use questions to qualify them, to see where they are on the Buyers Journey.
The next step in your process could be is send out some information before you go out and see them in the first meeting. The reason you do this is it’s been said that if you touch someone 3-7 times before you meet with them it helps build rapport. So when you send something out, you can call them to make sure they received it. Then you can also call and confirm your meeting times. And what this does is help build rapport.
So when you have your first meeting, it’s all about putting a face to a name. And your marketing can help with a lot of the heavy lifting here, it also makes you look more professional and different to your competition. The good thing about building a marketing material is once you build it, all you have to do is tweak it.
If you currently do your bids, quotes or proposals for FREE, you need to build a system that allows you to get paid for your time. One of the things we teach our private coaching clients is their time is valuable and they should be charging for these proposals. So change your free quote for example, into a product that addresses the prospects’ needs.
People have been educated by the insurance companies that when they go ask for a quote, they’ve got to get three. And some clown 20, 30 or 50 years ago put their point of difference up and say ‘give free quotes’. But that’s not a point of difference anymore, everybody does free quotes.
So you need to change the wording because everybody looks the same… and they all do free quotes. So change the name to be a product that your prospects want, a consultation of some type. Again, this help control the process and you look more professional (and people pay more for products from experts).
Now if the type of work you do has a higher value on it, don’t just email your bids, quotes or proposals. We call this the ‘hope and pray’ method of sales, “I hope they get my email, I hope they like it and I pray they give me the job.”
Why this is because what’s the first thing that people do when they get a proposal in an email? They scroll through the email and look for the price, and then you’re on your back foot trying to justify it.
When you present your proposal you can walk through it, highlight your point of difference, show them your professionalism and most of all ask for the sale.
Another part of your process is to create a list of objections that you get and then you can be prepared with objection handling statements, questions and stories to overcome their reluctance to move forward with you.
The next part you may need to follow-up with them. So again have a follow-up process, be different to your completion, follow-up professionally, ask your prospects for feedback rather than just the annoying phone calls asking ‘how did we do?’ Have a process for it and use the 80-20 rule in your favor. Only 20% of people follow-up a second time, and out of that only 20% will follow-up a third time. Now Salesforce, one of the leading contact relationship software companies in the world, said their statistics show that 80% of sales were made after the 4th follow-up.
So let’s do a quick recap on what you need to do to be able to convert bids, quotes, and proposals into jobs.
You need to stop winging it and have a sales process. And in your sales process, you need to:
- Help build rapport that shows you are the professional
- Qualify people to where they are on the Buyers Journey
- Ask open-ended questions to get their engagement to find out their Why
- Let your marketing material do some of the heavy lifting
- Present your proposals, just don’t use the ‘hope and pray’ method
- Control your process
- Have a list of objections and rebuttals to those objections
- And have a professional follow-up process
Having a sales process will help you win more work than just winging it.
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