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How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?

 
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Old 02-27-2019, 01:55 PM   #1
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How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


Hey guys, Brian with Bear Cove here. I'm wondering what your guys sales process looks like?
The reason I ask, is because my background is primarily in sales and business, and construction 2nd(my partner is a passionate craftswoman so my lane is more to the business side of the company). With the sales background, everything was done in person or with a phone call as a last resort. I've been finding more and more clients have been requesting to have their estimates emailed "like the other contractors do" that are also bidding the job. I've found that doing so has greatly impacted the overall feel of the relationship whether I end up with the job or not.
I generally shoot to have an estimate written and delivered in 24-48 hours after our consultation which they seem to REALLY appreciate, but I've got to ask, how do you generally handle your delivery? Have you changed your methods over the years and found a way to yield better results?
Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-27-2019, 01:57 PM   #2
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Re: How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


I just noticed there was a business section as well as sales and marketing, can this be moved to the appropriate section please? Thanks!

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Old 02-27-2019, 02:34 PM   #3
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Re: How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


I'm old school - carrier pigeon...

I think in many ways it revolves around the size of your business, the project & your style. For real large jobs in person would be best IMHO but I would set that up with a follow up date at first meeting. For the rest, email with a follow up call the next day if they haven't gotten back to you - to not only make sure they got it but to answer any questions they might have but might have been afraid to send
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Old 02-27-2019, 02:42 PM   #4
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Re: How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


Hahaha. Carrier pigeon, I love it. Real classic touch!
I hadn't considered setting the follow-up meeting on that first visit. That sounds like a great idea to lock down further dialogue.
When email them do you feel like you've maybe relinquished some control in the interaction? I only ask because again, with the sales background, it always seemed to me that sending someone information to review alone that it opened the door for issues to come up that would have been better dealt with alongside your client. That being said, I've also found that the sales cycle in construction has some variables that change my usual approach. Thanks for the insight!
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Old 02-27-2019, 03:26 PM   #5
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Re: How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


depends on the complexity of the job and whether they were in or out of town clients.

in person is the preferred way.

out of towners 99% of the time set up a meeting if they had questions or ad ons....

was usually just please proceed....
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Old 02-27-2019, 07:35 PM   #6
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Re: How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


In person with a loan app, I am ******* expensive! JK Most of the time email if the scope is clear, with a note to let me know they got it. Other times I meet in person to go over a fair bit of detail.

I'm 90% referral, so most times I am not bidding against anyone but their budget. One thing I always do is leave the ball in their court. "These window take 8 weeks, if you want to started in the spring let get them ordered" ect. Make their deadline always about things they need to do to keep it. Price is a small factor when you can do what others can't.

We don't hold the schedule until we have the job and I always let them know I have 5-10 estimates out that could sign anytime.
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Old 02-27-2019, 08:23 PM   #7
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Re: How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


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Old 02-27-2019, 10:33 PM   #8
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Re: How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


The vast majority of my work is word of mouth referrals. I generally mail estimates back, occasionly I email. I explain to potential customers that I am booked out for months and they need to let me know if they want on my schedule.

There is no pressure from me, either you want me to do the work or you don't. I just can not see pressuring the customer for a decision and them telling them they will have to wait three months until I get to them. By far most of my customers are willing to wait.

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Old 02-27-2019, 10:53 PM   #9
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Re: How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


Through email and now also through texts. Joist is great app and Iím often complimented on how professional I look.


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Old 02-27-2019, 11:10 PM   #10
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Re: How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


I send them a proposal through QuickBooks, by email.


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Old 02-28-2019, 05:27 AM   #11
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Re: How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


Email, have had a few older people who don't email though, they get snail mail.

Have only delivered a hand full in person, most do get signed in person though.

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Old 02-28-2019, 09:02 AM   #12
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Re: How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


in person, mail, email, text. Depends on the job. Sand & finish floors, I write them a bid on the spot & hand it to them & answer any questions. Jobs that require more research & figuring, mail, email or text depending on they're preference.
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Old 02-28-2019, 09:15 AM   #13
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Re: How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


Initial friendly meet/ make sure we're a good fit in person. Estimate and contract by email. Then print and sign contract in person after they've gone over it.
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Old 02-28-2019, 10:48 AM   #14
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Re: How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Californiadecks View Post
I send them a proposal through QuickBooks, by email.


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How do you include all the verbiage that says they have 3 days to cancel etc...if the proposal is sent through QB? Or joist or any other estimate app?
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Old 02-28-2019, 10:53 AM   #15
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Re: How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mkb View Post
How do you include all the verbiage that says they have 3 days to cancel etc...if the proposal is sent through QB? Or joist or any other estimate app?


Joist you can create any verbiage or contract you want and also have it signed by both parities through the app


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Old 02-28-2019, 11:47 AM   #16
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Re: How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


I don't ever deliver an estimate, I deliver a proposal.

If the project is of significant size and quite attractive to me, part of the deal is that we are going to have a sit down face to face meeting to review the proposal. Proposals have to be explained like you are talking to a fifth grader. Your customer doesn't do this stuff every day, so you have to dumb it down and go through things in a "show and tell" type manner. The more visual references, samples, photos, etc. you can share will really help.

I will only email proposals for small jobs, but I will still call or go see them and have a follow up conversation to discuss it.

Learn how to present your proposals properly face to face and your closing percentage will increase considerably.
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Old 02-28-2019, 11:52 AM   #17
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Re: How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mkb View Post
How do you include all the verbiage that says they have 3 days to cancel etc...if the proposal is sent through QB? Or joist or any other estimate app?
With joist, you can add it directly to the estimate. (As said above.)
With Quickbooks you have to attach a file. It's not hard. The paperclip is right on the estimate

I am a terrible salesperson and I tell my customers that, exactly. All of my work is referral. The only way someone calls me, is if they got my number from a previous customer or someone who knows me.

I go and look at the job. I tell them then, "I'm a terrible salesperson, I should come back and meet with you, to go over the estimate, but I'm not going to." I email them the estimate, and tell them, if they have any questions, to let me know. 99% of the time, they don't even read it. They look at the price only. I also let them know our schedule and a rough guess of how many estimates we have out there, unsigned. I let them know, if we are 3 months out now, if they wait 2 months, to decide, I might have 8 estimates come in by then.

I will be the first to admit, this is not the best way to make sales. But, I've done it this way for 28 years and we are always 6 months behind.

Oh yea. I email almost everything. I do have some customers that are elderly and don't do email. Those are snail mail.
If I took the time to meet with every customer a second time, think how much of my time would be wasted.

For any job under $1,000, I don't even go look at it. I will give them a verbal estimate over the phone. If they are good with it, I will make an appointment to measure and collect a down payment.
I still remember the days when work was tough to come by. Then, you took anything you could get. When someone calls with a small job, I still take it. It just may be a while before I can get there. It's also good to have some small jobs waiting. They make good fill in days.
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Old 02-28-2019, 07:37 PM   #18
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Re: How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


My experience in an architecture office reinforces OPs hesitation to just ship out an email and wait.

We always always try to be there to walk them through things. People can get hung up on the most benign things and sink the whole ship. Can you tell people during the initial meeting to expect your friendly face again for the estimate walk through?

I donít think you should roll over in this just because other ship them in.


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Old 03-01-2019, 02:21 AM   #19
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Re: How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


Sending emails to close sales lacks good salesmanship and is the most unprofessional and most impersonal way to do business with the exception of when it is mandatory to use email due to customers who are out of town, or when customers absolutely request email as the preferred method.

Aside from my reluctance to do business with people who send me emails I find that about 60% of my best customers (older people) don't have computers nor smart phones. For those customers, we should use snail mail with return envelopes and can still save time (and that was a sarcasm).

Try doing the math to figure out how much business is lost by using email to close sales vs face-to-face salesmanship and negotiating. I guess many are in such high demand and many customers are just not valuable enough to take up more than the time it takes to shoot them an email.
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Old 03-01-2019, 08:18 AM   #20
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Re: How Do You Deliver Your Estimates?


Quote:
Originally Posted by daffysplumbing View Post
Sending emails to close sales lacks good salesmanship and is the most unprofessional and most impersonal way to do business with the exception of when it is mandatory to use email due to customers who are out of town, or when customers absolutely request email as the preferred method.

Aside from my reluctance to do business with people who send me emails I find that about 60% of my best customers (older people) don't have computers nor smart phones. For those customers, we should use snail mail with return envelopes and can still save time (and that was a sarcasm).

Try doing the math to figure out how much business is lost by using email to close sales vs face-to-face salesmanship and negotiating. I guess many are in such high demand and many customers are just not valuable enough to take up more than the time it takes to shoot them an email.
I agree. I also said I am a terrible salesman. I think we need to realize, the way of business is changing. I remember the days when you would go look at a job, figure the job, then meet with the customer to go over everything. My closing rate is the same now as it was then. Some of the siding companies still do this. Of course their prices run almost 100% higher than everyone else, so they need to do that. They also have dedicated salespeople that work off of commission.

People are used to ordering stuff on the internet. They are used to communicating through email or text. We have to adapt to the times. Having said that, I don't think I will ever like text messages. I have customers that communicate that way almost exclusively. One day I got 44 text messages from one customer. That will kill your productivity.

I thought I should add, not following up with customers, is not all customers and not all jobs.
Larger jobs require multiple follow-ups and in-person meetings. Even some kitchens are considered larger jobs.

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