A good example is a system I first used over 25 years ago to get referrals.
At the time I was selling sales training programmes and I was meeting mainly with sales managers who had teams of sales people.
At the end of every meeting with a sales manager (whether or not they bought) I would thank each person for their time.
Then I would ask them for 1-2 referrals to other sales managers who I could talk to about my sales training programmes.
I tried a few different ways of asking for referrals and after several months of practice I was able to get on average one referral from every face to face meeting that I had.
So if I met with 20 sales managers in a month I would get around 20 referrals to other sales managers who they knew.
(What I noticed after a while was that people generally gave me the lower number of referrals that I asked for. So when I asked for 1 or 2 referrals I would usually get 1 referral.)
I thought this was pretty good until I did further experimenting with my referral system.
Instead of asking for 1 or 2 referrals I began asking for 2 or 3 referrals.
I found that by changing the number of referrals that I was asking for I still got the lower number.
On average I was now getting 2 referrals from every meeting.
So the next 20 sales managers I met with produced around 40 referrals.
In other words my referral results had doubled by changing the words '1 or 2' to '2 or 3' when I asked for referrals.
I continued using this improved referral system for about 6 months and then decided to do one final test
For one month instead of asking for 2 or 3 referrals I began asking every sales manager for 7 or 8 referrals.
And in this one month I got over 147 referrals to other sales managers!
In fact I got so many referrals that I couldn't follow up on all of them. So I had to stop asking for referrals for a while.
I was shocked and astounded at my results!
This was a great example of a tiny change in what I did producing a huge improvement in my results.
And that brings me to the purpose of my message today...
I think this same strategy of a tiny change producing a huge improvement in your results is very relevant with any business that uses quotes and proposals as part of their sales process.
And that's what I want to talk about today...
Let's start with three quick questions:
1: Do you use quotes and/or proposals as part of your sales process?
(If the answer is 'no' this message is not relevant to your business.)
2: What results are you currently getting from your quotes and proposals?
In other words, what percentage of your quotes or proposals turn into paid sales?
And what value of business do you get each month from your quotes or proposals?
3: Are you totally happy with these results or would you like to improve them if you could?
(If you are totally happy with your current results then my message today on quotes and proposals is not relevant to you.)
In terms of improvement you might want to turn a higher percentage of your quotes and proposals into paid sales.
Let's say you currently get 25% of your quotes accepted each month and producing paid sales.
And this is worth $10,000 of new business each month.
If you could improve what you do and get 30% of your quotes accepted each month you would now be making $12,000 of new business each month. Or an extra $24,000 a year.
Also, are you happy with the profits and margins that you make on your quotes and proposals?
If they are a bit low that is another area you might like to improve in.
Here's the good news about quotes and proposals:
You can improve the results you get from all your quotes and proposals with an unusual marketing system.
The system is very simple:
Add three short headings to every quote or proposal that you give to a potential client.
Write 2-3 paragraphs that explain each heading in a little bit of detail.
The time you spend doing this is only around 10-15 minutes for each quote or proposal.
Here's what happens when you add these three headings and a bit of detail about each heading...
1: Every proposal or quote you give potential clients will stand out in a positive way from all your competitors quotes and proposals.
(Your potential clients will now see very clearly that what you are offering is very different from your competitors.)
Secondly your potential clients will feel that you understand their situation well and will believe that you are an ideal supplier to choose for what they are after.
The end result is that by making these tiny changes to your quotes and proposals your potential clients will be far more likely to choose your firm over many of your competitors.
(Even if you charge a higher price than your competitors.)