Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Advice - The Quote Follow up Call

This article examines the two most common mistakes made on quote follow up calls and provides some helpful advice on how to conduct these calls successfully.

What are the two most common errors?

- A weak reason for calling.
- The use of closed sequence questions.

The following call introduction demonstrates both errors: 

Salesman - I am just calling to make sure you received the quote I sent to you...
Customer - Yes I have.

Salesman - That's good. Did it cover everything you needed?

Customer - Yeah I think it pretty much covers most areas.

Salesman - Good, do you need any other information from me?

Customer - No I have all I need thank you.
Salesman - Is it ok to give you a call in a week or so to see how things are going?
Customer - Yes that's fine.

The weak reason for calling
Calling to confirm receipt of the quote is what you expect from a junior administrator.  The professional salesperson understands that the customer's feedback is the valuable treasure.  The call introduction should reflect this.  More effective examples would be:

"I wanted to discuss the quotation I sent over to you..."
"Calling to make sure you have received the quote and more importantly I'd like to discuss your feedback..."

There are of course many other statements which can work well here but these examples leave the customer in no doubt that you are intending to have a conversation about the quote - not just confirming receipt.

The use of closed sequence questions
Closed sequence questions (defined as being 3 or more closed questions in a row) are counterproductive.  They will always lead you into a dead end and do nothing to extract the valuable feedback.

Your introduction may of course include a single closed question i.e.
Did you receive the quotation? Or Have you had a chance to read through the quote?
 Once you have the clarified these points it is essential to open the conversation to obtain feedback.
This feedback may cover a wide range of areas such as:
- The customer's views on the quote.
- How your quote compares to others they may have received.
- The current status of the project you have quoted on.
- What the next steps are going to be.
- The process of decision making.

Above all else your questions at this stage need to be thought provoking.   There are many examples of thought provoking questions which can be effective on these calls such as:

What are your thoughts?
How are we looking?
The second example is arguably the most effective question to use.

Take a look at how this is used in a call:

Salesman - I wanted to discuss the quotation I sent over to you...
Customer - Ok.
Salesman - Have you had a chance to read through the quote?

Customer - Yes I have.

Salesman - Excellent, how are we looking?

This strong, direct approach cuts out the pointless list of closed questions.   This is a very open, confident and professional way to invite feedback.

Want more information?
If you would like more information on improving your sales calls drop me a line directly

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