I recently spoke with my mother who was quoting out getting a new porch built onto her house. The job was complicated and needed a true professional not to damage or disrupt the old building with the new addition. Thanks to our family having quite a few entrepreneurs in it, she went to one of our distant relatives who was now running his own construction company.
This guy is good, I mean very very good. His work doesn’t cut corners. He thinks through all the long-term implications of a design both for durability, safety and beauty.
What he didn’t do was create professional quote. Instead he wrote a number on a piece of paper and handed it over. If he had not been family, he would have lost the chance to prove how great a worker, builder and planner he was. A haphazard quote that doesn’t break down the prices, let alone look like anything defensible in court, doesn’t instill confidence.
A few minutes with a Microsoft Word template would make a perfectly acceptable, trust worthy quote and it can mean the difference between winning or losing a bid. Lowest price, as many know, does not always mean the best option and saving that $200 might end up costing someone thousands of dollars.
To avoid this lack of confidence LOOK PROFESSIONAL!
Other details to consider:
Email addresses shouldn’t be email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you must use a public domain email like Gmail or Hotmail at least get a separate business email that looks polished like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Voicemail should be crisp and professional. It should at the very least let people know they’ve gotten the right phone number. If you want to be innovative, try a voicemail coupon code or a new business tagline or a tip-of-the-day on your voicemail so people might remember leaving a message as a positive thing!
Invoices should be professional looking as well both for legal reasons and for repeat business as well as getting larger orders with businesses to go through easier. Have you considered using your invoice as a way of getting repeat business? How about a referral offer like “10% off your next order when you refer a new customer!”
Your appearance when you meet with a customer should be clean, fresh and appealing. Obviously if you’re working construction you won’t be wearing a suit but don’t come in looking and smelling like you’ve been hard at work all day. That is probably very true, but it also says you don’t care enough about your potential customer to clean up a bit and throw on a new layer of deodorant before visiting to talk about a new job.
What other details can you think of? There are far more than I can write up in this post. A great place to start would be by reading “The Little Big Things” by Thomas Peters.