After non-response and poor customer service, the next headache for small businesses is producing quotes and more importantly turning them into invoices. In other words sales.
For many quotes are the first step to all sales. Painters. Plumbers. Appliance repair. Carpenters. Web designers. Flooring. Software. Kitchen instillations. Builders. Even motivational speakers like me. Some call it estimates, others call it a proposal. You name the business and dollars to doughnuts a quote goes out first in one form or the other.
Quotes are painful. Did we get it right? When will I have time to write it up? Why do I have this double or even triple handling? The effort of gathering information, translating it in an agreeable form to send to the potential customer as well as internally recording for follow up. Closing of the sale? All the lost opportunity of not following up. Out of sight so out of mind, right?
Here’s two solutions to this dilemma. The second is infinitely better than the first.
- Systemise and be religious about it.
- Set up a template
- Ensure all details are gathered
- Send it out immediately.
- Devise a system for following up – even for YEARS (if appropriate depending on the service) using your computer Task or To Do function.
- Use a software system with integrated quoting to automate.
The best for most businesses is one that integrates into a cloud based accounting system. It will turn a pain into a time saving, income producing gain.
You benefit from the stunning beauty of automation. Removing duplication. Removing lost paperwork. Removing forgetting about the quote and following up. Removing repeating the same thing over and over again. Gaining time. Gaining more sales. Gaining a database system.
In other words automating is simply making technology do the work for you.
Here is how you turn your business into a money making machine.
First tools in hand
Optimum- on the road – tablet with mobile data for an internet connection. Or a laptop.
In office- computer with internet.
Accounting software – cloud based: You might want to have a look at Xero if you’re not using a cloud based accounting software https://vimeo.com/113970830
By the way Xero gives you a free one month trial – you’ll find it on their homepage www.xero.com
- Create quote in your accounting system. It automatically will fill the line items of your goods/services. Even better it’s already coded for when that quote turns into an invoice.
- Another quote? You can use an existing one and copy to a new one.
- Email it directly to prospects from the system. Note if you’re on the road – this can be done in their driveway. No more delays, or forgetting about it.
- Track the quote at a glance you can see what quotes have sold, which are still outstanding for follow-up.
- Speed – stating terms on your quotes give clarity and enables you to get paid faster
- Tenacity. Often your competition isn’t another company, it’s the prospective customer’s inclination to maintain the status quo. Having your quotes online, in your accounting system allows you to implement systems where you can have office staff follow up over the longer term – such as in one, three or six month periods.
If you doubt either of these two systems would be worth your effort, simply ask yourself, if it could help to bring in five? Ten more pieces of business, is it worth it?