I would guarantee that everyone in the sales and service business has had this happen to them. You spend hours with your client, going over their business, their current infrastructure, their immediate needs and their future needs.
You spend hours preparing a comprehensive estimate listing each piece of hardware, each piece of software, what it will take to install it and the benefits they will receive with your solution. You diligently follow up with them and they give you the standard “We’re considering your proposal” stall tactic.
Then several days later, out of the blue you get the call “WHEN CAN YOU INSTALL THIS EQUIPMENT? WE BOUGHT IT ONLINE, IT WAS CHEAPER THAN WHAT YOU QUOTED”
Here is what I have learned after 19 years in the industry:
* The goal of a proper estimate is to provide a well detailed and documented solution for the customer, without giving them the ability to easily shop it on the internet.
* Never use a part number on a quote unless it is your internal part number and then make sure it is not even close to the manufacturer part number.
* Never use the exact product description in your estimate, change it up a little.
* Combine several individual items into one item with one cost on your estimate.
* Follow up, follow up, follow up. Email is great, but a phone call or a face to face visit along with email will provide better results for you than email only. Companies do business with people they trust, you can convey your knowledge, skill and trustworthiness better with oral conversation than written conversation.
Another thing I have learned, this one from my Dad. You are never too old, or too smart to learn something new. So if anyone has different ideas or suggestions on how to quote with out killing your sale, post them on our Tech-Army Forums!