Editor’s note: this is a guest blog from Andy & Angela Smith, co-founders of Lifestyle Tradie.
Converting Quotes: The Solution To Your Lack Of Work
The equation for trade business profit is:
Work = Turnover = Profit
(and Profit = Happy Business Owners)
It looks pretty simple but this equation webs out into a complex maze of profit making madness and the first part (finding ‘work’) is the hardest yet most crucial.
We’ve spoken to hundreds of trade business owners at over 40 live events in the last 7 years. The #1 thing they seem to say is “I need to focus on my marketing to get more work”. But, the majority of them don’t realise that marketing is merely half the solution.
At an event last year we spoke to a plumber who wasn’t making enough profit. He was getting plenty of calls and doing an average of 20 quotes per week. He came to our event looking for marketing ideas and left with plenty PLUS a changed perspective on getting work.
This is what he learnt… when it comes to getting work, his ability to convert quotes into work was of equal importance to his marketing strategy.
Of the 20 quotes this plumber did per week, he converted about 40% into actual work.
That’s 12 potential customers he didn’t convert per week and 624 per year. If the profits from his work averaged at $200 (although it’s probably higher) per job, he’s lost $124,800 worth of work in a year.
Not too good when it’s put like that, is it?
So, what EXACTLY did we tell him to do to increase his quote conversion?
Basically, we told him to list ALL the points of contact a customer has with his trade business before going ahead with work. Then, evaluate what he does at each point of contact.
Each point of contact a customer has with a business prior to booking in work may seem like an insignificant influence when looked at individually. But collectively, these are major driving forces that determine whether a customer will go ahead with the work using your business. We call these ‘touch points’.
Touch points can be used to build a customer’s trust and credibility in your business. A customer who’s confident in your business will choose you, sometimes even if you’re more expensive than a competitor.
Touch points occur across various phases of the customer conversion process. Here’s a breakdown of the process:
PHASE 1: Finding You
A customer will more often than not find you through a referral, and review your website. This is their first point of contact.
Unfortunately, when it comes to referrals and reviews you can’t control what past customers say. But, you can somewhat influence it by:
- Treating every customer as though they’ll be telling 10+ people about their experience with your business
- Responding to all publicly posted reviews positively and constructively, whether they’re good or bad.
However, when it comes to your website, you have complete control over what is communicated.
To increase the likelihood that a potential customer will choose your business, you’ll need to create trust and credibility by answering the following questions on your HOMEPAGE:
Can you solve their problem?
Show this by listing your services in order (either left to right or top to bottom) of the work you most wish to attract first.
Are you trustworthy?
Show this by providing images of you, your awards, customer testimonials/case studies, professional before/after images, or even more detailed information specific to the problem they have, and you solve. Especially if their average dollar sale is high.
PHASE 2: Getting To Know You
Next, a potential customer will make a phone call to your business.
Subconsciously, their decision to book a quote with you will be determined by:
Conduct yourself in a friendly manner and vary your tone of voice to match theirs.
Confidence (not yours, theirs!)
Their confidence in your ability to solve their issue will determine whether they choose to even book in a quote. Increase their confidence by reassuring them that you can fix the issue.
Specific and flexible
Be flexible and accommodating when booking in a time for the quote. Acknowledge that your customer’s time is important by booking them into a specified time slot. Our plumbing business works with 2-hour time slots as it works with our business model, but it also means that the customer won’t be waiting for the tradesman all day.
PHASE 3: Get Onsite
You’ve booked a time to quote but you can only presume that a customer will stick to it. Ensure accountability by confirming the day before via text (if they’ve booked well in advance) and call 30 minutes before you arrive.
You can’t convert a quote if you don’t get a chance to do it.
PHASE 4: Whilst Onsite Quoting
How you conduct yourself onsite will heavily impact whether a customer decides to go with your business or not. To increase their likeliness to convert do the following:
Show You Understand
Repeat the customer’s problem back to them to show you understand what they need resolved.
Discuss with the customer all possible solutions before giving them the quote. Often there will be both permanent and temporary solutions to their issues. When this is the case explain both, and the pros and cons associated with each.
Value For Money
Explain (or even show by drawing) exactly why a certain solution is necessary. This will help a customer understand where their money is being spent. If you have a guarantee on your work, tell them.
Will They Go Ahead?
For various reasons customers may choose not to go ahead with the work on the day. In this case, it’s the tradesman’s job to determine ‘why’. Perhaps a wife wants to talk to her husband first, or maybe they want to get a couple of other quotes to compare.
Once you know the ‘why’ you can act accordingly. For example, in the case of the husband and wife, you can offer to call the couple when they are together and explain the quote.
Getting the quote done on the day guarantees conversion. Waiting only gives them time to ‘cool off’ and back out of getting the work done.
What do you leave behind?
Whether a customer chooses to go ahead with the work on the day or not, always leave behind some business information.
An information pack with testimonials, business information, awards, etc. will add credibility — a factor that’s really important, especially if they’re getting quotes from competitors.
PHASE 5: Follow Up
Always follow up quotes with a phone call at either an agreed time with the customer, or if a time wasn’t agreed upon, within 2 days.
As mentioned earlier, getting work is two-fold. You need to get both your marketing and quote conversion process right.
If you feel that you could make some improvements with this process, join us at our live event ‘The Future Tradie’.
SPECIAL OFFER: ServiceM8 has organised 2 tickets for you for just $47 (tickets are normally $297 for 2 people!).
CLICK HERE for details.
Andy & Angela Smith
Husband and wife team, Andrew & Angela Smith, are the co-founders of the award winning business Lifestyle Tradie Group. A powerful and unique membership to inspire, energize, connect and educate tradesmen and their wives/partners, Lifestyle Tradie is dedicated to helping trade business owners fast-track business and lifestyle success!