By Sid Chadwick
“You can’t go out and practice average on Wednesday… average on Thursday… OK on Friday… and then expect to play well on Sunday.”……Tom Brady
For years I’ve encouraged Account Executives - and Estimators - to provide their customers – “Meaningful Options… on their Letters of Quote” - whether or not their customer requested those Options.
I know that’s an uphill battle. Our industry is obsessive about efficiency and productivity. Estimators are asked, “How many Quotes were generated today?” Seldom are Estimators asked, “What’s your winning Quote percentage…?”
Those qualities of efficiency and productivity have their merits and their place. (However – given the direction of our culture and the need for personal interaction, there are numerous situations where qualities relating to “personal interaction efficiency” …are self-destructive…!)
Benefits for you to produce meaningful Options on your Quote letters - are multiple:
- That Quote has more value to its recipient…!
- That Quote – looks different.
- That Quote raises issues – possibly (probably..?) not previously considered…!
- That Quote can often generate… a meaningful discussion… that often does not include your competitors.
- That Quote…with the surprising Option(s)…can lead to customer discussions…that put you in charge of winning that work…!
Recently, I began counting the names of companies that I know who are creating “On-line Quote Request Forms”, for customers to fill out. (That’s troubled me…in a market and time where buyers tend to know less….customer interaction - is being reduced…even eliminated…!)
As another opportunity for creating a Customer Survey arrived in our office for a client wanting to become more important to current customers, plus grow his revenues - immediately, our client allowed us to create a provocative question on his Customer Survey – for his customers to answer:
“Would you like to be able to discuss Specifications of Projects - early in the Quoting process? (Please check one.) ______ Yes ______ No
So far, all respondents are answering the question, and approximately 80%+ are saying…..”YES”…!
A dear client recently had a major contract up for renewal. Contract was for about $700,000 - $800,000 a month. Specifications were clear and had not changed in several years.
A competitor …offered the option of a slightly lighter weight sheet (that also ran faster through folding and addressing), which overall saved about 10% a month….!
The long-term, current supplier could have offered the same savings but had assumed that “the long-term specifications – were the only acceptable specifications.”
Their competitor has the new contract.
“Options” win work – even major work….!
“People do not decide their future…they decide their habits…and their habits decide their future.”……F.M. Alexander, The Top Leadership Quotes of 2021.