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Old 25th January 2010, 09:42 AM   #1
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Location: Upstate NY
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Default Emailing An Estimate Vs In-Person

As of now, we write up all of our estimates in the truck after meeting with the customer. Estimates are written up right after the meeting. We have a template where scope/details are written in/checked off. Preparation takes ~15 minutes. Estimate is presented in person right after.

I am now debating going the email route - meet with the customer and email the estimate later that day rather than write it up on the spot.

Does anyone have any input or actual data on whether emailing is a better or worthwhile option? Certainly, the email route sounds more professional, but I am worried about the close ratio dropping if no one is there to present in person. Any thoughts, inputs?

***Our average job is ~3,000 and with the current system, we close ~34% of all estimates.

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Old 23rd June 2010, 02:44 PM   #2

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We usually email them a day later. Simply, it gives us a day to rethink the estimate. Having said that, it is a specifics of the industry I am in that we can not go by a simple price list (I work in services), other industries may find it easier to hand over the estimate on the spot.

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Last edited by selfemployedcaf; 23rd June 2010 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 05:34 PM   #3
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I agree with the previous commentator. Emailing them later looks more professional. Besides it gives you an opportunity to have better understanding of the job.

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Old 6th July 2010, 12:45 PM   #4

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Emailing takes you a step away from your customer... How many times have you received info you requested in email, then thought, I'll deal with that later...only to forget about it and not address it...I know I have, and I know my customers have.

If you have a close rate of over 1/3, I wouldn't change it at all. But if you insist on emailing it, I have found that if I get a commitment from the customer a time to talk about the proposal after I sent it, my close ratio goes way up. This way they know they have to review it because I will be calling at a specific time later to discuss.

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Old 6th July 2010, 10:58 PM   #5
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Whatever you do, DON'T STOP WHAT IS WORKING! Ohhhhh so many business owners find something that works... and then stop using it!

Now... I live online. E-mail has become a way of life. BUT... it appears that in your industry, you have to meet or see the job (I am guessing... but why else would you go out in the first place, right?)

Now... if I were in YOUR shoes... I would be working on PERFECTING my personal delivery.

First of all (understand I am saying this to provide the flat out truth... and I have no intention of offending anyone)

- BE SURE your people are clean cut and professional looking. Neat and well presented. Be sure they can talk and explain things without a lot of 'umms and uhhs...'. PROFESSIONAL presentation is really important. If you take the time to be professional... clean... neat appearance now... BEFORE the job, the natural expectation is that your service is going to be the same. Follow??

- ADD A KICKER TO YOUR OFFER to close more. Now, I am not suggesting you get high pressure. BUT... now you have to think OUTSIDE the box. Can you offer an upgrade bundle? (You never mentioned what you sell or do... so I am poking in the dark... excuse me if I poke the wrong way! )

What about a 'preferred customer status'?? Anything??? Some time limited offer that UPGRADES their original purchase that's NOT presented in a high pressure way.

Maybe it's something that (depends on the expected lead time) is laid out like a coupon. If you CONFIRM THIS QUOTE WITIN THE NEXT 7 DAYS... you will get or take advantage of... or become a... or whatever. Something that is of SOME VALUE... that will make peole stop, look at the quote and then decide now (or realy soon).

The longer you let them sit on it... or the longer they wait to get it by email (even if it's later that day) it's NOT THE SAME as putting it in their hands... reading their face (expression) and adding a TEASER that will get them to act quicker... faster or something like that.


Hope this helps! Good luck!

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Old 27th July 2010, 04:11 AM   #6

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Originally Posted by BeTheBest View Post
Whatever you do, DON'T STOP WHAT IS WORKING! Ohhhhh so many business owners find something that works... and then stop using it!
Absolutely! I agree 100%.

In your case I submit that customer contact is essential... not because of your field or your model but because you've built your business around face-to-face. You'll likely experience a drop-off if you remove yourself from the in-person close as suggested above.

You have to question the status quo. Ask yourself: why does a next-day estimate seem more professional? Is it the typed estimate? If so, then maybe it would be beneficial (and a novel techy concept) to write up the estimate onsite on an Ipad and print it out on a portable printer. This is just an idea but I agree: don't fix it if it ain't broke!

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