The hardest thing I had to leand was to follow up on all bids. I really didn't want to because I was not good at handling rejection. It is hard being told "NO". Over the years I have changed my line of thought and guess what? I have found that allot of home owners need that little extra push to make them make up their minds.
If a person gets three bids and they can't choose which one to go with and no one calls them back, they have to make a choice, this is hard for some people. If one person calls back to follow up and the other two don't, guess who will get the job.
Most of the time when you follow up on a bid and you don't get it, the client will thank you for your time and be impressed by your call back. It's the professional thing to do. It shows the home owner you want the job.
in my opinion, this is something you should ABSOLUTELY do. i don't have statistics, but i know that i have a very high number of customers who will accept when i call back. The exception would be if you are always booked up and don't need a boost now and then. I don't know how many times i have called someone back and they said they were meaning to call me but lost my estimate, number, etc. I also hate to be rejected. i know i do a better job than anyone else around me, and when i get rejected it really hits me and i kinda take it personal. This is a bad approach, but hey, i'm being honest. Another thing......i have never had a person seem frustrated at me for calling back. Across the board, most people are generally happy that you followed up, and this includes me following up with pro hockey and football players, people with very busy lives. I think the reason is that it is one thing to be rude to someone over the phone that is telemarketing and you know you will never see them. But when someone comes and spends a half hour at your house talking to you, you feel like you owe them the respect of listening to what they have to say. Take advantage of this human characteristic and i would bet that of those estimates that did not call back, you could close nearly half of them by simply giving a follow-up call.
I generally will call in about a month if i have not heard from the person. after that, if they don't tell me they hired someone else and are still thinking about it getting their deck done, i call back every month until they hire me, tell me someone else did the work, or tell me to drop dead!! (kidding) I would tell you good luck, but i don't think you'll need it after you find out how many of your potential customers were just waiting for you to call!! have a good weekend, John
A full week may be alittle too long. I follow up once 3-4 days after the estimate. If they don't say yes at that time, then I usually don't get them. So instead of chasing them further I find my time is better spent looking for new customers.
It's a pain but you might consider keeping some numbers to track your follow-ups. The 1st quarter you could provide estimates and follow-up in 2 days, 2nd quarter provide estimates and follow-up in 3 days, and so on... up to 5 or 7 days whichever you prefer.
From that data you might see a higher percentage of jobs you closed in a given quarter and you'll be able determine an effective interval to follow-up with your customers. If you saw a higher percentage of jobs you closed when following up in 7 days then obviously you'd want to stick with that, but I think you will find better results if done within 3 days or so.
I usually check out the job and see if it is done or not.If it isn't I might send them a flyer with a coupon on it,or another letter.They all work to some degree especially if you put out a lot of estimates.
In the last few days, I have seen two decks that I bid on that were then done by someone else. They both look like crap! Shall I send them a letter next year reminding them who to call if they want it done right?
One was a huge job.........monster deck, 2nd floor balcony, and a gazebo. I remember the guy choking on the price. I'd love to know what he ended up paying....
Mike you might send a flyer or something next year...the only problem which I discovered is, a lot of people don't even know they got a shitty job.I see this one company that charges top dollar and sends 17 and 18 year olds to do the deck ,they shred,take the paint off siding ,overspray all over the place and still the customer is satisfied.A lot of my gutter customers had someone else before I solicited the job and they say they were happy with the job.When I get done restoring the deck they cant believe it,The stains that were there originally are gone and the deck is perfect. what I am trying to say is if you send them a letter implying that their deck looks like crap they might get offended.
What if theguy rented a pw'er and did it himself ,then he is doubley offended!
most people are nt in the mood to be proven wrong,especially if the check has been cashed.I can wait until the job needs to be done again
When I finish a project I tell the customer I will be back in a few weeks to check things out and see how the deck/fence are looking. On my "rain" days is when I usually do it. I want to see how the sealer is doing with water repellancy. I also send a reminder on the 1 yr anniversary to remind the owner it's time for a wash and on the 2 yr anni. it's time for a wash and sealer check up. The customer is very surprised when I just drop by when in the area to see things and I take a few pictures for the portfolio so they can be labelled appropriately as "time from initial application". I have had the last few customers ask for business cards to pass out to their co-workers and even had one customer ask for more.
I think too many times some of the customers are use to "blow and go" type service and the little extra helps more than we know. I try to impress on the customer that "attention to detail" is just part of the job, expect it and if it's not there then they hired the wrong contractor. We all have been burned by someone we hired ourselves to do a job for us and it turns out it wasn't what we expected. I try to not pass this type of service on to my customers.