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  • How long do you take to quote a job?

  • Peter Cassidy

    October 4, 2021 at 9:22 pm

    I have been thinking.

    A customers enquiry comes in via the workplace, email, phone or whatever.
    Some things you can guess the approximate price, some you cannot and you need to get back to customer later.
    The time taken to get the quote created is one thing, and i accept i will not win them all. but the killer for me the past 3-6 months is people are not willing to wait for a quote?
    I am a small company and i am busy doing what i do. by the time i source prices and phone around for the best i can offer. i call the customer back and get told “i took too long!”
    This is not vinyl graphics, but free standing signs, building signs, built-up letters and all sorts.

    I am just venting a little here. but i would love to know how some of you deal with this or are you in the same boat as me?
    If something is custom and needs several products to be sourced from supplier. surely you dont just give a guess?

  • David Hammond

    October 5, 2021 at 7:52 am

    A few years ago I did my NVQ3 in sales, so here are a few tips we’ve implemented.

    I don’t guess prices, as I usually get it completely wrong. We don’t give prices over the phone but send written quotations. I can turn quotes around within minutes for some jobs, others take a bit more crunching, and can take a couple of days. We use clarity but any CRM/MIS is worthwhile.

    What I’ve noticed is many small businesses focus on doing the job (making signs), not the sales/business side. It’s the latter that reaps rewards.

    We don’t undertake many signage projects like you are. We’ve concentrated on what we can produce, manage, and quote easily – Also what we enjoy doing. We’re very responsive and efficient in one specific area. If an enquiry doesn’t fit us, we politely decline.

    You cannot do everything. You’ll be amazed at the work we pick up, not because of quality from previous suppliers, but responsiveness, communication.

    Do you have a target customer?
    Do you have a sales process? (as in every enquiry gets treated the same, the same information is captured)

    It may be you’re getting low-quality enquiries, who expect a price there and then. Those who think you press a button and the sign appears. Those who expect champagne on a lemonade budget. In my humble opinion, you’re wasting your time, and you’re far better filtering them out early on, and that’s where the sales process comes in.

    Sales first. Signs second.

  • Duncan Wilkie

    October 5, 2021 at 3:41 pm

    David is bang on. Try to find a specialty and concentrate on it. Be the best and streamline your energy. We do all kinds of signs too, but over the years, we’ve been able to specialize more. To the point that we do certain signs for other sign companies. Once you focus, key in on other sign companies. Let them do the leg work. Many of them are digital printers only. If you have a router, promote it. We did that and it worked out great. I’m also an old school signwriter. Most of that comes from others. We also focused on Architectural signage, directories, wayfinding and the like. Again larger and smaller sign companies come to us.

    Bottom line, you can’t be everything to everyone.

  • David Hammond

    October 6, 2021 at 5:33 am

    One company I know who are excelling have got this nailed.

    They do 1000’s of stickers and labels, turning it into a commodity item, a simple pricing structure, same for correx boards. They’ve made it quick, and easy for both themselves and the customer, their machinery is all suited to what they produce, making production easier.

  • Peter Cassidy

    October 9, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    Thanks David and Duncan for your replies.

    The thing is, the signs i am quoting for are what i do and i am good at making them. I just feel the customers expectations are too high when it comes to how quickly a bespoke sign can be quoted for.
    I do not just give guesses because how can you guess a price for a sign you know little to nothing about?
    I am not talking about an illustrated sign with detailed requirements.
    i mean. “Hi there i want a sign on steel posts. sign approximately 8ft x 4ft with my company name and text, fitted?”
    The same might apply for a shopfront sign and others like it.
    I want the work, but a site visit is needed as well as more information. but calling back to organise a visit in a day or twos time. only to be told “forget it, i have it being done elsewhere” is hard to swallow. 🙄

  • David Hammond

    October 10, 2021 at 6:11 am

    Book in the site visit during the initial call, we use Google calendar, so I can see what we have planned, where ever I am.

    Still try and qualify them, no point chasing around doing site visits if they don’t have a pot pee in.

    When do they need the sign? (if they need it tomorrow, you can walk away)

    Why do they want that style of sign? (See if they’ve done some research, or just like it and done have a clue on price)

    What budget do they have in mind? (If they answer cheap as possible, walk away, if they don’t know, start throwing prices at them and see if its worth investing any more time)

    Most importantly capture some information about them! If they won’t give you basic information they’re wasting your time.

  • Karen White

    October 10, 2021 at 9:50 pm

    i know what you mean Peter. I feel that i am also missing out on potential business these days but i cant be everywhere at once. i am pretty much on my own here with occasional help. but people, in general, are simply shopping around and going for the cheapest regardless.
    you may find that you have NOT lost out, but the customer has already had some rough quotes and thought “bugger that, it’s too expensive!”
    next thing is, you call and they just tell you they have got it elsewhere to save some face. i say that because i think this has been the case for me on at least two occasions over the past few months. i pass both the companies now and again and neither have the new signs that they enquired about.

    it is maybe just a sign of the times we are heading into, though i hope i am wrong. (pardon the pun) 😀

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