A simple way to win more estimates

December 8, 2010 · 4 comments

As most of you know, I operated a very successful quick printing firm for 23 years. One of the keys to our success was closely monitoring and managing our estimating department.

We measured everything and always had a pretty good idea of what worked and what didn’t work when it came to pricing and estimating. Over a period of many years, we were able to determine that we would “win” about 31% of all call-in bids. One day, by accident, we discovered a little secret selling power phrase that dramatically increased our success rate on call-in bids and estimates. When we used this idea, we went from a 31% success rate to a nearly 50% success rate.

Here’s what we did: As we were nearing the end of our phone conversation, we would give the prospect the price and then wait for them to say something. Then, as soon as they said something — no matter what it was — we would say, in a very upbeat way, “Would you like me to have someone stop by and pick up your order?” Many times, they would say yes.

It sounds simple, but it worked like magic.

The hardest part was getting my employees to say it. But when they did, we had a vastly improved success rate on our estimates. Needless to say, we continually trained and retrained our customer service team to always include this question. I would urge you to consider using this as part of your estimating strategy. I would also add, as odd as this sounds, don’t change the wording at all. When we would say, “Can I stop by and pick up your order?” or “Can I have my delivery driver stop by and pick up your order?” it didn’t work nearly as well. I can’t explain it, but the simple phrase, “Would you like me to have someone stop by and pick up your order?” worked better than anything else.

I wish you success.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Brad Krantz December 10, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Hello Mike:
I love your ideas! Thanks for sharing them.
We rarely pick up orders these days…
Customers email a file in. Any ideas on how to adapt for that scenario?


Mike Stevens December 10, 2010 at 1:13 pm

When I sold Express Press, about 40% 0f our orders we coming to us online.

We rarely accepted an online estimate UNLESS we had contact info with a phone number. At the time, I thought it took too much time to do every ‘request for an estimate’ that we got via email. Estimates that were “Email in & email out” had a very, very low success rate. However, when we picked up the phone and called them, it gave us a chance to “connect” a little and that dramatically improved our closing ratios.

Of course, we used the phone call as an opportunity to ask “Can I send someone over to pick up your order?” Yeah, I know hardly anybody does picks up orders any more, but I think makes the idea even more valuable – you know what I mean?

Thank you all for the feedback!


Jerry Little December 10, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Hi Mike!
Great idea… but nobody picks up orders anymore.
Any other ideas?

Steve December 10, 2010 at 10:44 am

I have used that question as well but never thought about the subtle variance as being meaninful. From now on I’ll make certain to use the word “someone”

Got any magic words for jobs that can be emailed or uploaded to our server?

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