Home > Follow-up > Follow up after Quote

Follow up after Quote

I often will quote potential leads regarding their company uniforms. I will call them and get the initial apparel they use and send them a quote since we are competitive in prices.

Now when I follow up whats the best way to go forward. I called someone back today to discuss the quote and asked how competitive the prices were and they responded...not that competitive. Now I could go into the price objection response, but didn't know if I should be focusing on something else.

I guess I am giving them a easy way to object if they don't want deal with me or just want to end the conversation.

Is there a better way I should be doing this? - by Jakobi
Don't send them the quote. Set up an appointment to meet with them in person to go over it.

You are skipping steps in the sales process. You seem more like an order taker than a sales person.

The phone call you make to them initially should be to set up an appointment to meet face to face and then go through the rest of the steps of the sales process.

You have to show them how you are different than any one else in your industry and why they should do business with you. - by Jim Klein
Never send a quote. Arrange an appointment to deliver it in person and go over the details WITH the decision maker.

Your quote should not look like a "quote". Use headings and copy outlining recommendations, features, benefits, and clarifications.

Review that copy with the prospect as you would any visual aid.

THEN....and this is important...DON'T say "Any Questions?" Instead say "What questions do you have that I need to answer for you?"

Say that with a yellow legal pad in front of you and write down the questions as he names them.

NOW...you are engaged with that prospect. - by Ace Coldiron
Great advice everyone, I was thinking in reverse possibly. I was hoping that I could use the price to hook them to create the interest in conversations.

The only problem is that many of the companies I call are all over the US, and we are in the Northeast. To actually go to every locaiton is not possible due to costs. However, I will do this for all the companies in the Northeast.

Any advice on how I would take care of the others? We will go anywhere to meet with them, as long as there is some true interest or that it will not be a waste of time. - by Jakobi
Jakobi, you could do a modification of what I suggested above. Here's how.

Call the prospect/buyer and him/her that you have prepare a "DRAFT" of the proposal and that you want to review it over the phone before sending it to make sure everything they need is covered. Then slowly cover each point in the draft proposal, pausing for their comments. In effect, you are turning a proposal into a sales conversation.

I have often done this with excellent results. - by Ace Coldiron
So you INITIALLY call them, and but don't use the opportunity to turn it into a sales call.

Since they are not a customer of yours, find out IF there is something they WISH there current supplier was doing for them that they are not doing for them now? How long have they been using them? If they had a need for more apparel HOW would they go about choosing a supplier, if they were to consider someone other than the current vendor?

FIND out what besides price will be important in the decision.

Turn a quote possibility into a sales opportunity.

Blind quotes rarely close hs been my experience, but you may be helping his current vendor keep the business or the customer negotiate a better price with them. - by Paulette Halpern
In many areas of b2b, quotes are mandatory. However, I've learned that the process does not necessarily preclude dialogue and negotiation. The advice I gave above was an an example of how to take a routine, sometimes bureaucratic buying procedure into a realm which can favor a salesperson's chances. - by Ace Coldiron
I do not know if there is any one true best way to go forward. I know more than a few people have created a list of follow-up strategies that may have work for them and their situation and maybe their ideas and any ideas you get here will work for you too. Another ideas is to ask someone in your specific industry, preferably someone who is doing well at that task, for this type of information. - by dgilio
I somewhat disagree with some of the earlier comments.. I personally will ‘fact find’ and identify some necessary information (over the phone). i.e. when are they looking to purchase, when will they need the product by, who else they have gone out to for prices, will there be repeat business, what is the budget, why are they looking at moving supplier…

After matching their needs to our product I will reply immediately with a quote and a meeting request.

I feel this allows for a solid and clear understanding of my position, shows professionalism and also can allow the prospect to look at basic cost feasibility.

When it is time to follow up, I never lead based on price.. I may ask during the follow up conversation ‘Are we within budget?’ and should I receive a yes I will then move straight into the ‘assumptive’ closing technique.

Going back to your original question I would suggest keeping the focus of the follow up call on their ‘needs’ as identified when they first requested a quote. - by salesman
Can you clarify further?

For instance, you said after matching their needs to your product, you would follow up with a meeting request. What is the purpose of the meeting if you have already given the quote--and why would the prospect agree to the request?

Also, can you tell us what "the assumptive close technique" you would use is and how it would be correct timing if the prospect has only agreed that the quote is "within budget?" - by Gary A Boye
The follow up meeting would be to discuss in greater detail the different aspects of the quote and offer a complete presentation.

The purpose of the quote is to outline costs (which can generate a sale with no additional work), the purpose of the meeting is to further look into the problem and explore avaliable solutions.

Typically I find that after I have conducted a good ‘fact find’ and matched the needs, the client will then put their faith in me as a expert in my field as solution provider. The ultimate aim is to be viewed more as a consultant than a salesman. I find this can lower many of the perceived barriers that we face as sales people.

Eg: if I was selling T-Shirts the meeting would be to produce fabrics and discuss durability requirements or if I was selling fire alarms I could be looking at the sensors involved or perhaps the positioning.

It is not uncommon for me to upsell and re-quote after the meeting as at this point the prospect believes that I have a better understanding of his requirements.

With regards to the ‘assumptive’ closing technique, I find this to yield the best results.

(Please note that the client has agreed that I am within budget AND I have identified and matched their needs to my solution AND that I have a complete understanding of his requirments)

It is where the client is confident that I have identified his needs and that my bespoke solution/product is suitable.

I will then (almost like a tick sheet) reiterate the variables and assume the sale had been agreed.

Me: so we need it by mid March
Client: Yeah, March the 14th
Me: and what shade of green did we like?
Client: Lime green
Me: I think we made a good choice going with the lime green… if you can just sign here we can get into manufacture by this monday...

If you have conducted the cycle correctly the close doesn't need to be pushy and is simply the next logical step for both parties... - by salesman
Sign where?

Are you saying that you have a contract made out? How could that be if you have been discussing upselling. When was the paperwork completed? What are you asking them to sign?

Also, why would being "within budget" be an affirmation that you have the sale? In a competitive situation it is quite possible for all the quotes to be within budget. BTW, in a request for quotation, the needs have usually been outlined in the request itself--by the prospect. Those would be the same needs the competition reads before submitting their quote. The only assumption I see here is that the competition doesn't know what they are doing.

I do agree with the following however:

"The purpose of the quote is to outline costs (which can generate a sale with no additional work), the purpose of the meeting is to further look into the problem and explore avaliable solutions."

In those cases I do not refer to it as a quote, but rather a cost projection. And, of course, thats a segue towards further discussion with the buyer. - by Gary A Boye
When I was working in advertising and door to door sales we did indeed have pre written contracts where only a signature was necessary. I currently working for a small company as the sole salesman and it is my responsibility to source, negotiate and close large international construction contracts typically between £20k - £200k where we are required to achieve design approval inline with the tender specification. With sales cycles lasting between 1 to 24 months obviously a little more is required. I simply used ‘sign here’ as an analogy. What I would be looking for is my prospects commitment to the sale.

I have never received a quotation request that has detailed all of my clients needs! Touching on this point further… if I have a quotation request for say; bridge formwork, obviously my client has identified a solution, but I have no idea of his needs (the needs being the variables and factors that will determine who will be awarded the contract)

As I said previously… Being within budget alone does not solely offer affirmation that I am to be awarded a contract, but if I am in budget and I have matched the prospects needs to my solution (identifying needs to remove future objections) we can move seamlessly into a close.

If we look at the buyers transitional state from quote request through to purchase and in particular the ‘A.I.D.A.’ model, you may find that not only does this approach adhere to the AIDA principles, but it affords the salesman more control throughout the cycle.

After I win a contract I will also project manage the works until completion and on occasion I will also be involved in procurement. Nothing infuriates me more than when I am looking at feasibility or if I am ready to purchase and asking for product or service and a salesman is sending me around the houses…

In this situation I would not differentiate between a quote and a cost projection.. The prospect has requested a price…. Just give the man a price! - by salesman
Thank you for making that clear to the members here. "Assuming the sale" was a concept that has been mentioned many times on the forum but I wanted to make sure that members knew that "techniques" like ""sign here" are simply not representative of effective real world selling. "Obviously a little more is required" (1 to 24 months in your case) is spot on. - by Gary A Boye
Perhaps I made a few assumptions; a more accurate representation of my approach when I can not visit the client would be as follows:
  • I receive an emailed invitation to quote and the client is too far away to travel
  • I respond with a phone call in which I acknowledge receipt of the enquiry, introduce myself, fact find, try to identify variables that the prospect had not considered, ascertain what the deciding factors will be considered before an order is placed, identify any constraint that may hinder or aid my proposal (lead time, delivery, budget…), find out when the order is to be placed, who will be making the decision to purchase, and who I am bidding against.
  • Prepare my offer (quote) based on the above and return it to the client immediately. Should I come across any further variables when building my offer documentation I will contact the client and confirm details before I submit my offer.
  • I then follow up my offer with a telephone call. During this call I will again follow the ‘consultative sales’ formula and lead the conversation highlighting his needs and how my product addresses both his expectations and requirements. If the order is to be placed imminently then (working from buying signals) I will set the tone of the conversation to suggest that I have already been given instruction to proceed and begin discussing the finer details of the order. Even if I know that I have a great price I will not lead with price as I have never had a sale where the client doesn’t want a little bit more money knocked off.
  • When we are agreed that my solution correctly addresses the prospects requirements (removing any objections) we can mutually move into a close.
This is only a brief overview of my solution based consultative sales approach. - by salesman
Very instructive. Posts like that are very meaningful towards SalesPractice fulfilling the promise of being the definitive source of sales education on the Internet. - by Gary Boye
Weekly Updates!
Questions and Answers about Selling
Subscribe to our mailing list to get threads and posts sent to your email address weekly - Free of Charge.