If you want to convert more sales, stop quoting…

Written on October 22, 2014

For businesses seeking to increase sales conversion in a business-to-business environment it often surprises them when we say, “quote less”.

Businesses crave the opportunity to quote as often as possible in the hope some of them will convert. Sales teams justify their very existence on the amount of quotes they send out and sales leaders apply pressure and manage them on this measure.

From our experience of working with hundreds of small businesses, the number one reason we see for low conversion rates is that businesses quote much too soon in the sales process and as a consequence lose the sale.

The typical scenario starts with a sales manager or leader from an organization engaging a prospect in a discussion to do business with them. The first meeting provides the opportunity for the sales manager to understand the prospects needs and look for a way they can solve their problems. The sales manager then asks for the opportunity to quote so that he or she can negotiate and close a deal.

The above example is a logical process but the problem is that in today’s complex business world it is typically not enough to convert the opportunity. Why? Customers want MUCH more from the sales process and a business’ conversion rate will rise dramatically if it is provided to them. So what more can a business provide during the sales process?

First, businesses need to be selective about the prospects they engage. Spending time in the sales process with the wrong client is a waste of time and leads to a type of customer which would more than likely never to convert to a sale.

The second aspect is understanding that matching a prospect’s problems to the businesses solution is not enough. Most prospects already have an idea about what they might need to do. They are looking for a business to provide new insights and challenge to their thinking. A prospect wants a business to customize a great value-add solution to address their specific challenges.

Finally a prospect wants assistance in engaging their internal stakeholders. Decision making is becoming more and more collaborative as organizations become more risk adverse.

Imagine if businesses engaged the right client profile, understood the client’s world, added valuable insight and challenged their thinking, collaboratively developed solutions that added demonstrable value, engaged all the stakeholders in the process and then quoted a price for services? What do you think it will do for conversion rates? Our experience shows implementing these adjustments have helped businesses achieve conversion rates of more than 80% conversion rates where previously they achieved less than 10%.

Yes, these businesses are quoting less often but when they do it counts.

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