Doing Free Estimates is Worth Every Penny to You

You’ve no doubt heard the phrase “less is more”. Can it be true that doing less estimates/quotes/proposals can yield more sales? Sounds counter-intuitive, right?

Here are 4 problems with estimates and how you can overcome them.

Problem 1: Your marketing materials promise that you’ll do free estimates. You feel the pressure to comply because you want to be honest.

Problem 2: Writing up the details of what you will do and how much it will cost can take time and money. But buyers don’t care how much it costs you to create an estimate. In their mind it’s what you’re supposed to do. They often already have estimates from your competitors.

Problem 3: Getting an answer from a prospect after you’ve delivered their free estimate is hit or miss – mostly miss. They avoid your follow up calls and emails. You can start to feel resentful for being ignored considering all the work you put into the estimate creation and delivery.

Problem 4: People use your estimate against you by finding items they don’t want and therefor don’t want to pay for. What they don’t understand is how that “pick and choose” mentality undermines the quality of what you pride yourself on delivering. Now you’re in that awkward position of having to defend yourself, which never goes well for you.

To solve these problems, consider looking at estimates from this perspective: They are not a dime-a-dozen item given to just anybody. They are a precious commodity that prospects must earn. Here’ how:

Solution 1: Qualify people to receive your free estimate. You’ll still do them, but you’ll do less of them because only people who qualify as serious buyers earn the right to get an estimate.

Solution 2: As you qualify people, ask them what they need to see in the estimate and give them what they ask for. Some just want the bottom-line number – a lot more than you might think. Others want some level of detail. Negotiate the amount of detail you can provide and give them what you both agree on. This can save a lot of time and effort.

Solution 3: Immediately you will be chasing less decisions because you’ve qualified more effectively and won’t get stuck in a follow up vacuum with someone who was never going to buy from you in the first place.

Solution 4: You avoid competing on price alone. Part of qualifying effectively is really understanding what, besides price, is important to each buyer. For those where price it the top priority, and you know you’re not typically the lowest price, you may not want to provide an estimate. If you do, you know not to spend a lot of time on it based on what the prospect shared.

Any of these problems/solutions sound familiar? Anyone can learn how to increase sales by improving your qualifying skills. Consider attending one of my Group Sales Coaching meetings where we discuss and give answers to these types of sales challenges.