I’ve been trying to buy a conservatory for over a year, without much success. I have the money, but no one seems to want to take it off me!
The first, local company I approached came to see me and created some designs and costs, which they emailed to me. I made the mistake of telling them that I was in no hurry to start the work, so they never got in touch to see what I thought about the price they had quoted. But even so, do they not keep a list of quotes of follow up eventually?
Last spring a large national company put a leaflet through my door, offering a special offer for a ‘show conservatory’ in my area. I called them to arrange for a salesman to come and see me, left a message and never heard back from them. Do they not have a database or system to track enquiries? A month later, the same leaflet appeared on my doormat, so I called again. This time I was given an appointment and someone actually turned up. He drew some good designs and gave me some rough numbers. As soon as I said that I was talking to a number of different companies (and didn’t want him to come and ‘present’ his price to me the following week) he became very defensive. He told me that his company would be more expensive because they were better and that there was no point comparing on price. He wanted to know who else I was speaking to (I didn’t tell him) and he proceeded to be very rude about all the other conservatory companies in the country. I don’t like working with people who try to put down their competitors, so when his quote appeared in my inbox I deleted it.
In the summer, another large national company (from whom we’ve bought windows before) called to ask if they could sell me anything. They seemed very pleased when I asked about conservatories and duly sent a salesman to see me. He was really nice and promised to match the quote that the local company had given me, promising to email me the full details. He didn’t email me, but called to tell me that the price would be higher than he had promised. He also told me that the tree in my back garden would also have to be cut down, so that the roots wouldn’t affect the foundations of the conservatory. When I explained that I didn’t like that idea, he got shirty and told me that they couldn’t guarantee the building for life without chopping down my tree. I asked him to email his prices; I never heard from him again. Have they not invested in a follow up process to keep in touch with prospective customers?
Fast forward to December last year and I contacted the first company again – the local one. I arranged for their salesman to come and see me again, to update their quote. I sat and waited and he never arrived. I’ve still not heard from them. Did they forget me? Do they really have no system for following up quotes and prospects?
A month ago, the second company actually bothered to call to see if I was still interested in working with their rude salesman (who it turns out has been sacked for being rude to customers!) “Please send me the quote again and I’ll consider it,” I asked. I’m still waiting for the quote to arrive.
It seems to me that there are many companies in this country – especially ones that sell conservatories – that are wasting money on their marketing. They send out leaflets, pay for TV advertising and put their logo on their vans. They are generating enquiries through their marketing, but they’re spending far more than they need to, as they’re not following up those prospects. They are not converting as many enquiries into paying customers as they could be. They don’t seem to have even simple databases or follow up processes in place, which could make their marketing work so much harder for them, saving them time and money and helping them to earn far more.
Do you have a database in which you record your enquiries, how they heard about you and when you’ll contact them again? It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, as you can start with something as simple as a spreadsheet. If you need any tips on how to get started, or how best to follow up with your prospects and turn them into clients, just get in touch and we can have a chat about it. Click here to email me or call me on 01635 578 500. And if you can sell me a conservatory, I would love to hear from you!