One of the hardest things about selling services for a small telecom company is putting together an accurate quote. Since the company I work for doesn’t own its own network, I am forced to put together pricing based on what our underlying carriers are charging us.
More often than not, they refer to their pricing as “budgetary.” This is a nice way of saying they have no idea what they are going to charge us until they do a site survey but are taking an educated guess. And, since customers rarely want to wait for that site survey, I have to put together a quote and hope the “budgetary” pricing is accurate.
As a result of this, even though I’m OK about 95 percent of the time, I do occasionally come across a situation where the underlying costs are simply too high and I have no other choice but to modify my price quote to the customer accordingly. This rarely goes over well. But, thanks to three basic steps, I’m able to save the sale most of the time.
The first step is to be upfront with the customer. If I know there is a chance I will have to modify my proposal at some point, I make sure to tell my customer that right away and explain exactly why that might happen. While there have, admittedly, been some customers that weren’t comfortable with that, most are open minded and, because I was upfront with them from the start, aren’t as quick to walk away from the sale if the price does go up by a couple hundred dollars a month (especially if it is still a savings for them).
Another thing I do is try to find ways to modify my proposal to keep the cost the same by making some other minor changes. For example, when this happened to me a couple weeks ago, I found I was able to keep the monthly price exactly as I originally quoted it as long as I had the customer agree to a 5-year contract rather than a 3-year term agreement. Other customers are OK with purchasing their own equipment (rather than us providing it for them) if it means they don’t have to pay a higher monthly fee. Being creative does take a bit more work. But, it pays off.
Last, I always try to find other ways to make up the difference. A couple months ago, I was able to make up the difference on a customer’s internet circuit by putting in a less expensive phone circuit. I was able to help yet another customer by finding them a cheaper phone vendor. Again, this does take a bit more work and some creativity. But, it has saved some sales.
While having to adjust the price on a proposal isn’t ideal and something I do try to avoid, it also isn’t something that will automatically result in a lost sale. By following these steps, I’m able to keep my customers happy enough to stay with me.