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Don't be a 'Quote-Factory'

What is your business' closing rate? That is to say, what is the ratio of firm orders to the enquiries you get? If, for example, you only close one order from 15 inquiries and considerable work goes into preparing a quotation each time, It's time to review your sales-process.

That figure of one sale from 15 requests for quotations is not an imaginary one. I have had many people on my 'Selling for Engineers' course who are accustomed to operate at such a level.

When you think about the total amount of work that is done on average to win one order, it becomes an imperative to see what can be done to increase the success rate. Here are some suggestions.

Don't let yourself become so 'snowed-under' by paperwork that you lose sight of the value of following up inquiries. It may seem outrageous to anyone in 'direct sales' to let an opportunity slip away in this manner, but many busy organisations do no follow-up work at all. They produce a quote, post it and forget it.

In my opinion, this is crazy. If you put all the work into considering what the prospect wants, calculating the price, writing and printing a letter, then mailing it, why not take a couple of minutes to make a call to improve your chances.

'Hello, this is Jim from the Supplies Company. You remember your request for prices on Widget units, did you receive our quote? How does it look to you? Would you like to go ahead with your order?'

How difficult is that?

People get busy, other issues come along and take the focus. Not hearing from a prospect does not mean that they aren't interested. They may want to proceed, but simply haven't got round to it. Some of the people you call will say, 'Yes, I've been meaning to contact you.'

Even when the answer is 'Not interested', that doesn't mean 'We are never going to buy anything from you.' So send reminders and make the occasional phone call. Things change, new situations, problems, requirements and personnel. The fellow who didn't want to deal with you may have been replaced by someone who doesn't know who to contact for supplies.

Don't be a 'quote factory', become a dynamic sales organisation.

If you enjoyed this article, take a look at my book.

The Selling for Engineers manual

About the Selling for engineers manual


And if another challenge facing your business is recruiting an effective salesperson, see also


How to Hire a Really Good Technical Sales Engineer



More articles on better selling




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