My fiancee, Nicole, and I are planning our wedding. We now realize why the wedding industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. The two of us have worked through the first challenging phase of the wedding planning process, picking a location and date. The wedding is planned for next August in Newport, Rhode Island, which is not an inexpensive place to have a wedding.
We are now on to the second phase of gathering quotes from vendors. One of the vendors we met with was a wedding photographer. My fiancee and I immediately hit it off with her and were impressed with her professionalism and portfolio of work. We made up our minds to hire her assuming her price met our budget. Days then weeks went by and still no proposal from her. With our chaotic schedules, we simply forgot to follow up with her.
Finally, she called us expressing concern about why we had never responded to her quote. She said she had emailed it to us. We told her we never received an email from her and we assumed that she got busy and never sent it. Soon we both realized she had sent the proposal to the wrong email. She had jotted down an incorrect email for us during our initial meeting. It turned out that her mistake worked to our benefit. The photographer offered to decrease the price by 15 percent if we were still interested in hiring her.
The lesson here is that this vendor could have avoided all of this (and not denied herself 15 percent of her fee) if she had simply called a day or two after emailing the quote to confirm that we received it. All she had to do was ask us if we had any questions regarding her quote. This is a sensible thing to do, of course. Every service provider that puts out a proposal should follow up soon after submitting the proposal. But you would be surprised how many business owners I consult with don’t have a standard policy to do this. The sales people at my company is required to follow up via telephone and email until they connect with their prospects and get a “yes” or “no” from them for our lawn care services. The reasons for doing this should be obvious.
In some cases, the estimates that we furnish are very detailed and take time to create, so as professionals we have a vested financial interest in following up with our prospects. Also, consider the marketing and advertising dollars that we invest in generating leads.
The lesson here is you never know what happens after you provide prospects with your proposals until you get a response (verbal or email, although verbal is better). And, yes, you will get your share of “no” responses. But even when a prospect responds negatively, you can obtain valuable information that can help you make the next response a “yes.” Ask why the prospect turned down your proposal. This is a great opportunity to see how your pricing and service are perceived by prospects in your market. This kind of feedback is invaluable in refining and improving your company and your sales efforts.