Are you interested in closing more business?
If the answer is yes, a good place to start is with the business you didn’t get. I am not suggesting that you should be going back to customers with revised pricing or asking for a second chance. But you should be doing a follow-up on every estimate you send out, including the jobs you didn’t get.
We much prefer to get compliments than criticism. The customer that chooses you over the competition is telling you that you are doing something right. But you can learn a lot about your business from the customer that went elsewhere with their dollar. That information can help you change your sales process to convert more leads and estimates into actual jobs.
I’ll give you an example. A few months ago I did a follow-up call and the customer told me that she felt it took too long to get an estimate after our initial in home appointment. We had met her on a Friday afternoon and she got the written estimate the following Monday. We realized that the time between meeting with a customer and getting them a written estimate needed to be tightened up. Now we get estimates to our customers within 24 hours of meeting them and on the same day whenever possible.
But before you pick up the phone and find out why you didn’t get a job, here are some tips on how to get the most out of your follow-up calls:
- Don’t have the sales person make the call. The customer will likely feel more comfortable and be more honest if they are not explaining to the same person that came to their home, why they chose someone else.
- Be respectful of their time. At the beginning of the call, ask the customer if they have a few minutes to answer your questions and explain to them it is part of your company’s commitment to improving customer service.
- Have a short list of questions prepared before you call so that the customer doesn’t feel as though they are being personally interrogated as to why they went with another paint contractor.
- Make sure you ask good follow-up questions. If your questions are to generic and too easy for the homeowner to answer with one word then you aren’t going to get much information out of the call.
- Send a thank you note in the mail. After the call, a quick hand written note thanking the customer for their feedback is a great way to demonstrate your professionalism and customer service. And, if something goes sideways with the other contractor, you can bet that you’ll be the first contractor they’ll call.
Don’t just assume that the homeowner went for a cheaper price. That is the easy answer and can result in you unnecessarily lowering your prices without increasing your closing rates. Take the time to do these follow-up calls, but be sincere. This is not about making a customer justify their decision. It’s an opportunity for you to learn. Learning what you did wrong, or didn’t do and what another paint contractor did right is how you improve your business.