I was recently in one of our regular quarterly planning meetings with a client when they told me about an event that really demonstrates the power of email as a tool to help you get a response and unblock the blockage. It also reminded me of a tip I gave a while ago. Here’s the story:
Having received a specific enquiry for some engineering work from a large process company, our client responded promptly with their quotation and then, after a reasonable period, called to follow up on the quotation. Unable to get through, they left a message. The response….Nothing! Over a further couple of weeks, more follow up calls were made, all with the same outcome – no response.
We’ve all experienced the frustration
I’m sure many of you have been in this situation and know how frustrating it is.
- Your prospect sent you the enquiry for a specific requirement
- You respond promptly with a comprehensive, competitive quotation
- Despite your best efforts, you just can’t get an answer
After a while you come to the conclusion that clearly they aren’t interested and move on to the next opportunity. WAIT! – Don’t just leave it at that. At least bat the ball back to them.
Back to the story…
Our client didn’t just drop it. Although they were pretty confident that the quotation was dead, they sent the following email. I repeat it almost exactly (words in italics have been changed to protect identities)
____________________________________________________________________________ Good Morning John Just checking that you received your quotation for the engineering work? Would it be possible to give us some feedback please. Could you help with the following - Won/Lost - Percentage difference - Response Time - Information within quotation letter/ technical detail We try to be as competitive as possible and the information you provide will help us in the future. Thanks in advance. Kind Regards Stephen _______________________________________________________________________________
There, job done. Stephen didn’t particularly expect a reply but he hadn’t just abandoned the enquiry, though he was willing to ‘let it go‘. He had been as positive as possible – and now he could constructively cross it off his ‘To Do’ list – (always good in my view!) but 4 days later…. After 2 weeks of no response to several phone calls, This email arrived in Stephen’s inbox:
_______________________________________________________________________________ Hi Stephen, Please see below for feedback: - Won/Lost Decision not yet made. If we decide not go to with you it will only be because there is a local company who can do a full turn key job on the install as a whole. - Percentage difference You were 10% lower than one quote and 7% under for another so happy with your pricing - Response Time Excellent, a lot quicker than the other 2 companies I went out to quotes for. It is particularly nice to have someone let me know they are working on the quote rather than just silence until a quote turns up. - Information within quotation letter/ technical detail Again excellent I feel like I will get what I want with your quote. Regards, John ________________________________________________________________________________
Don’t give up, but don’t keep banging your head against the wall. Have a joined-up process and use it. Don’t assume your efforts will fall on deaf ears. If you have a good proposition, relevant to your customers, you will get successes. Hope this inspires you to have a process to never drop an enquiry but always be willing to constructively let it go. You never know….