Are you being paid by the number of quotes you complete in a day?

“….Are you being paid by the number of quotes you complete in a day?”

I recently had the privilege of meeting with the owners of a construction firm that has a national footprint, to discuss the growth path of their organization into 2010. A successful company by most any standards, they like all of us, would like to move up to the next level and wanted my advice. (That always makes me feel GD).

During the course of the rather lengthy conversation and interview process they explained to me how instrumental and effective their Internet presence was in delivering leads to them on a daily basis. I personally do not hear the loud cries of success from a company’s website, so I was a bit skeptical. “How many leads in a month would you estimate that you receive” I asked. 300 was the answer! Yes that wasn’t a typographical error, they said, “THREE HUNDRED LEADS A MONTH!” Holy Smokes! 300 leads a month???? In this economy or any economy, that is fabulous!

Then I asked the logical question…..”What is your percentage of closes?” Sadly, that percentage was extremely low. So I asked to speak to the sales manager and asked about their quoting process. The explanation was, “we get a great deal of simple quotes. Many of those I can turn around in a couple of minutes. But it’s the ones that give us a great deal of detail that take the most time and usually turn into sales.”

The short version of this conversation is, the sales department quoted whatever came across their monitor from an Email quote request. Even those inquiries who state; “Do Not Call Me, I Just Want a Quote.” So of course I asked the next logical question, “….Are you being paid by the number of quotes you complete in a day?” Of course the answer was no.

So my recommendations were as follows;

1. You must create a reason to speak with the prospect
2. You do not send any financial information to any prospect who doesn’t want to be contacted unless you create a reason to get involved in a open dialog.
3. In even a simple quote, you must initiate the request with a question that forces them to respond. i.e. “I am working on your proposal but have a couple of questions for you. Please advise a good time and phone number for me to call you or please call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX”.
4. Sending blind quotes is an exercise in futility. Have sales people ever made a sale from a blind quote? Of course but you are dealing with thin air. You must get the prospect in the game or if NOT in the game at all; have the discipline to walk away.
5. Don’t give prospects ammunition that can be used against you if the proposed project turns into a price war.
6. In ALL sales cases you must create and sell value. Without value, the quote is only a number on a piece of paper. Have you ever given a quote to a prospect and then out of nowhere they tell you they are going with another firm? Of course, we all have, but who is to blame in that scenario?
7. If the low number takes ALL no matter what, then it’s a sand box you should not have been playing because it’s their game and their rules and those rules are stacked against you.
8. It’s not business as usual if you want to survive. Think outside the box is a term we have all heard, but few achieve. Complacency kills companies. Complacent employees kill companies. Complacent owners and managers kill companies. Again I say, IT IS NOT BUSINESS AS USUAL if you want to survive.

Have a tremendous week. If I can assist in anyway, please call or write and I will respond immediately!


George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources, Inc.
Grinnell, IA 50112