Positioning the Quote
Positioning the Quote
It is not unusual for business owners to find that they quoted an opportunity and then after many delays find that the opportunity has got stuck.
This is often followed when a decision gets made and the customer wants everything done yesterday.
Usually, in these situations, we look back at something we should or could have done and wish we had the benefit of 20/0 hindsight.
So here are some tips sourced from a range of literature targeting large corporates that might be helpful for our businesses to develop that 20/20 hindsight in advance.
First, make an assessment of the customer’s intention, recognising that buying from us involves some sort of change for them.
- Where are they in their buying cycle? Are they considering needs, evaluating options or resolving concerns?
- Does the customer really understand their needs?
- Is the reason they are looking to buy because they are growing, or because they have a problem?
- Are they going through the motions, for example just getting another quote?
- Is this customer one you really want?
Bob Miller who was one of the founders of Miller Heiman Group once said “No one buys a product or service per se. What is bought is what the customer thinks the product or service will do for him or her”
So, what is the overall effect that the customer is looking to achieve? What is the WIIFM, the customer, to make a change and buy from us? Why now?
Second, make sure that you have created clear, undeniable differentiation from the customer’s perspective that they understand. Is that differentiation in writing and truly connected to the customer’s intentions?
Third, provide a perspective. Deliver value beyond the intrinsic value of your product or service. Help them understand that they can get more by dealing with you.
Fourth, there are tactics that you might want to consider to try and make the client more accountable:
- For some, providing a reverse brief prior to quoting will get you on the same page, so to speak
- Include a timeline to show a clear start date based on when they want the result they are looking for
- Position a post quote reengagement. Providing options, for example, can create a need to re-engage
- Use a deadline. Placing an end date for when the offer is open
- Develop a checklist that the customer needs to sign off, similar to a reverse brief, that can be quite valuable
- If a tactic works on one deal see how you can make it work on all deals
Finally, a powerful step that is best practice for large corporates is a debrief on each deal – what went well, how can we have done better etc. It’s a great way at getting better at building 20/0 hindsight.
20/20 hindsight is obviously a very useful position in these cases as a reality check.
It’s not like these situations will never happen. However, using 20/20 hindsight might mean we minimise opportunity cost and grow the business a little faster.
Phil Hunt MBA
Hunt Consultants, Building Competitive Advantage