When a client contacts you for a quote, they are shopping! At this very moment they have decided to start shopping and are looking to make a decision and ultimately buy!
You or your company needs to be ready to assist them as fast as possible. Later I will show you the template I use to follow up with our prospective clients, after we have already sent them a quotation.
Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer. When you are shopping and ready to buy, you need a vendor ready to sell. If they are not ready, you move to a vendor that is.
Why? Because you have chosen the time that works for you to move forward with this purchase. You’re not trying to buy later, you are trying to buy now!
Those that are first to respond, usually get the business. We have had a lot of success just because we were available or because we responded quicker than our competition. In fact our competitors have lost a lot of business to us because they didn’t respond in a timely manner…or even respond at all!
Quote follow up procedure
For the catering end of our business, we have a catering sales associate. It is this person’s job to answer our catering line Monday thru Friday 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Also, this staff member answers any emails submissions, continues correspondence, and even makes marketing calls for continued catering growth. For Saturday and Sunday telephone calls we rotate those calls directly to our cell phones so we don’t miss a potential sale. When they call, they are shopping!
If you take anything away from this article it should be this, be available and respond quickly to customers reaching out to you…this is the difference between making the sale or losing it!
When responding to a client be sure to use the method in which they are contacting you. If they call you respond with a telephone call. If they email you respond to them by email. If they contact you through social media then respond through social media. If they request to meet in person, then arrange a time to meet. Use the same method of communication initially that works and is convenient for them.
Since everything doesn’t always happen immediately, you may need to follow-up with the client. You should outline a procedure to make sure you follow up on quotes that you have sent out. Following up with the client is crucial! A lot of sales can happen just by following up.
You may submit a quote to a customer and then not hear from them. They might not respond due to a number of reasons. They could be shopping around, they possibly forgot to respond or didn’t get around to it, they may have questions, or your quote could possibly be out of their budget. If you don’t follow up with the client, this quote could be lost.
Following up with them not only helps the flow of communication but it allows you to address the needs of the client. If they are shopping around, you following up may lead you to seal the deal with them because you care enough to communicate. You are making yourself available to answer their questions.
The follow up email may have reminded them that they need to get your service booked. The follow up letter might give them the opportunity to tell you that the quote is out of their budget or they have other ideas that can at least give you the opportunity to work with them more and submit another quote.
Following up is a method of customer service. It is continued communication. It is also work, so with that in mind some of your competitors may be too lazy or too busy to put in this work…all the more reason for you to do it. When you do what your competitors don’t, you start separating yourself from the competition.
Following up with a customer like most things is a balancing act. It is so important to follow up in a timely manner, but you also have to find the balance between good communication and pestering the client. Too much follow up or following up way too quickly before the client has a chance to think about it can cast a negative effect on your positive intentions. Find that balance of when and how to follow up that is most effective for you.
Typically, when I send a proposal it is usually by email. In my email I make sure to thank them for giving me the opportunity to prepare the quote. I let them know that it is important to me that they are considering us for the job. I’m sure to let them know to please contact me if they have any questions or if they need for me to make any adjustments to the quote.
It is important that you have some flexibility and use those quote as the drawing board. That it is alright for the customer to go back and forth with you to find that balance of budget and needs.
This doesn’t mean that you have to change your pricing, it may mean that you need to change a menu item or reduce a service, or add to the quote. Once the quote has been submitted. I like to give the client 2 business days or if the quote was done at the end of the week, I’ll wait until Monday or Tuesday to follow up.
Follow up email to client after sending quotation
When I follow up, I keep it short and sweet. I usually write something like:
Hello Jane Doe,
Thanks again for the opportunity to meet you. I just wanted to make sure you were able to open the quote I sent or see if you had any questions.
It is that easy! If a few days go by and I haven’t received a response, then I may follow up one more time. Often the second follow up may be a telephone call.
Regardless of if it is an email or telephone call, if I am unable to contact the person I leave a friendly message thanking them and letting them know that I’m available to them. After that I tend to back off and let them choose their route.
Sometimes client’s choose a different direction than your company and they might not be able to break it to you that they are…so sometimes they choose to do nothing by not communicating. If so, let it be…you did your job. You gave them the information in a timely matter, you followed up with them making yourself available, and you provided good customer service. As much as you would like to book them all you have to accept that somebody is cheaper, faster, or a better fit for them.
Thank you letter after closing the sale
This leads me to my next form of follow-up, the thank you letter after closing the sale. Once they book with you, understand that many people will be in their ear telling them why they shouldn’t have chosen you. This has nothing to do with you as much as it has to do with an individual’s opinion.
People ask, who is your caterer? Then they may respond, “you should have chosen “so and so”, they did my sister’s wedding for so cheap”..or something like that. You don’t want your client having buyers remorse or feel that they may have possibly made the wrong decision.
What I do is once they have booked with us, I send them a thank you! This thank you list some key points on why they made the right decision of going with your business. You are putting them at ease as well as giving them ammo to defend their decision among their peers. Here is an example of the Thank You Follow-Up I send:
Thank you so much for choosing David’s Catering!!
We are extremely honored to get to cater such a special event for you and your families! We know that there are many options out there for you to pick from, we are happy that you chose us! By choosing us you can expect:
- Your event is unique! We do not treat your catering as another catering event. We treat it as your catering event! We are excited, honored, and looking forward to catering this event!
- We will work hard and provide excellent service for you & your guests!
- We are here for you! We are available all along the way to answer emails, telephone calls, any questions that you may have, changes that need to made, meeting up to visit venues and/or to discuss any details that need to be covered.
- We are here to help! If you need any advice, we work with many of the vendors in the area. We can help you in that area. We can also help with any rentals or other needs when it comes to your special day!
- You made the right choice! We will work hard for you before, during, & even after your event.
Thank you again for choosing David’s Catering! Our reputation and the job we do for you means the world to us! It is a special time for you, and it is special for us to be part of it! Contact us anytime along the way with any questions you may have.
Remember, the big picture you have for yourself and the company. You want to grow your business and grow your reputation. This is done by providing great service and a great product.
It starts with the customer service. Be available and ready to assist shopping clients. Answer them quickly and in a timely manner. Provide them with the answers about what you offer. Follow up with them and be available for them to answer any questions and to make adjustments.