Running a business is often a learn-as-you-go process. Arguably, the single most important factor for business success is sales. In this set of articles, we’ve gathered top tips to help you optimise your sales practises for developing your business.
Find Your Ideal Customer
Each customer has a different set of objectives, and some of them will be a better fit for your business than others. Qualifying your customers may increase the chances of identifying those that are most relevant for you.
While some potential customers might focus on the quality of work and getting the most value for their money; others might have either a shorter deadline, which makes a fast response time the single most important factor; or a smaller budget and thus focus solely on price.
So, keep in mind that there is no reason to be discouraged if you don’t mesh with every customer who is interested in your services. Instead, focus on connecting with customers who either seem to be the best fit for your business or who you can be flexible with, and align your objectives accordingly.
How do You Identify Your Ideal Customer?
With customisable service settings, Bidvine makes it easy to identify your ideal customer. Highlighting the particulars of the services you offer, helps ensure that your business needs better match those of the customer.
The four questions to ask when qualifying your customer are:
- What type of services are you looking for?
- What are the biggest factors that would make this job/project a success?
- What is your budget?
- Do you have a specific project timeline?
You will have a clearer idea of what customers are looking for when you know the type of service, success factors, budget, and timeline they have in mind for a particular project. From there you can decide whether what they are looking for fits within your scope of work, pricing, and schedule. The better understanding you have about their requirements, the easier it will be to see whether they are a good fit.
Keep Your Bids Concise
Be clear and concise when writing your bid message. Focus on the most critical information that your prospective customer would need to know and try to keep any clarifying questions relevant and straightforward. The goal of your bid message is to generate enough interest to get the customer on the phone. There will always be time to ask more clarifying questions about the project once you have a detailed conversation with the customer.
Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment With Bid Messaging
Unsure whether your bid message is the best it could be? Don’t be afraid to experiment with different messages or strategies. Try not to stress if one bid message doesn’t work. Keep honing your messaging until it sounds just right.
Try these tips below when experimenting with your bid message:
- Highlight unique aspects of your skills or services
- Suggest a clear path forward or a call to action, such as a follow-up phone call
- Ask to meet with the customer in person to discuss plans
It’s easy for all of us to get consumed by everyday activities. If you haven’t heard back from a prospective customer, they may still be interested and were simply distracted or forgot to respond; we encourage you to send a follow-up message to check in with them.
Sending a follow-up message asking them about next steps or their interest can go a long way to closing a deal. Be prompt in your response if the customer comes back to you.
Then, when they reply to your follow up note, be prompt. The Bidvine Pro App makes following up fast even easier, by notifying you when customers are viewing bids, updating their job status, or sending you a message.
When you are easily accessible and can address customer inquiries promptly, it demonstrates that you are organised and reliable.
Adjust Your Process to The Customer’s Timeline
Understand the customer’s decision-making process and the scope of the work right from the start by asking what sort of timeline they have in mind for deciding to hire, and when they would like the work to begin. Once you know this, you can adjust your schedule as needed.
Educate and Collaborate With Customers
Some customers may have a general idea about the type of work relevant for their project, but there is a chance they may not know the full breadth of your skills and services that can add value to the project. This creates an opportunity for you to educate and collaborate with the customer.
Take time to understand what a prospective customer is looking for by asking clarifying questions. Then, educate the customer on the menu of options that are most relevant to their needs and willingness to pay.
The collaboration will help you identify what works best for the customer. No project will be exactly alike so it’s important to learn as much as you can about the requirements for each. This information is usually not possible to gather from the initial bid message alone, so as a first step, try scheduling a phone call to follow up with any further questions.
Here are a few prompts to get started when you’re speaking with a customer:
- Can you explain your project in more detail?
- What are your must haves vs. nice to haves?
Differentiate Your Services Based on Value – Not on Price
Advertising your service based on value is important. When you differentiate your services based on a unique proposition, you will likely attract customers whose hiring strategy is focused on a quality service.
Advertising your services based solely on a low price will likely attract only cost-conscious consumers who are bargain hunting. To make sure you are promoting based on value, keep in mind the importance of educating and collaborating.
Personalise a solution for each customer. Get creative with how you can offer a solution based on their budget. Be sure to demonstrate that you understand their goals and how your solution solves their biggest problems.
When a customer asks for a discount, ask them instead: “What needs to happen for you to see the value in the price we’ve quoted you?” Having such a dialogue may help address any challenges directly and identify ways of reaching a mutually beneficial outcome.
Be Transparent, Set Expectations, and Keep Your Promises
It is easier to build trust by setting expectations, ensuring both you and the customer are on the same page. To do this, be clear and transparent about what is and what is not included in your quote.
Continue to build trust by offering concise information about the next steps, such as payment terms, service schedule and outcomes.
It is also beneficial to describe what will happen in the case of a dispute. This ensures that if challenges arise at the onset of a project, everyone is clear on what actions can be done to resolve any bottlenecks.
Finally, be sure to follow through on the commitment with the customer. It seems intuitive, but delivering a promise consistently throughout the buying process will align expectations, and fulfilling it will demonstrate the reliability of your service.