The Quote: who should it be given to? How to distinguish a relevant customer from the simply curious one?

When a potential customer enters your showroom, how can you understand if they are only simply curious, so as not to waste time making a quote, or a relevant customer really interested in buying?

One of the difficulties that characterizes the modern window and door market, above all when window manufacturers are in direct contact with private customers, is linked to the fact that in the face of numerous quotes that are drawn up, the acceptance rate is very poor. Many complain that the rate does not exceed 25%, in other words this means that 75 out of 100 quotes are, so to speak, made for nothing.

The operators in the sector claim that the main cause is linked to price competition, so in most cases customers find better alternatives from an economic point of view. In reality, the problem has to be seen from a different point of view.

The customer who asks us for a quote, is really interested in our type of offer? In short, are they a relevant customer or a simply curious one?

Many do not take this difference into account, assuming that if a customer is looking for new windows, the only variables that can make them decide are linked to technical aspects such as the material of the profiles, the glass, the gaskets, the handles etc .. But it is not in this way.

The decisional variables are often also personal ones, related to the type of home in which they live, the place where they live, their propensity to spend, the source that has put them in contact with us, the time of realization, how long they have been thinking about buying, how many quotes they have already had etc..

The problem is that most window-makers today are very skilled at window frame making, but are not so expert when dealing with “customers”.To understand if a customer is relevant by virtue of these personal variables can be difficult, so difficult that window-makers prefer to waste time drawing up unnecessary quotes rather than learning to listen to them.

Listening does not mean only to hear. To hear means simply to record what the customer asks explicitly, questions which they will probably also ask to other potential suppliers. Listening means going further and in particular means paying attention, especially and above all, to what the client does not ask and does not say.

When the customer is silent, it could be for two reasons. Or because they do not want to give us the opportunity to understand their real intentions, or because they do not yet know what they really want to buy.

It could be argued that if the customer does not ask and does not speak, it becomes difficult to listen to them. True, but it is in these situations that you have to “open up” the customer by asking them the right questions. Questions that should not be aimed at understanding only what type of windows interest them, but also if we are talking to a relevant customer or only a curious one.
For example:

  • how did they find out about us?
    If the contact came about thanks to  positive word-of-mouth or because our windows have been seen in other houses, it is more probable that the customer we are dealing with is inclined to carefully evaluate our offer;
  • when do they plan to actually carry out the work?
    Many begin the search for new windows and doors well ahead of when it is really needed. This question enables us to understand at what phase the customer’s purchasing process is, and if necessary to give the customer only a price indication, reserving the right to contact them closer to the period in which the purchase and installation should actually take place;
  • have they been able to evaluate other proposals?
    If the customer responds no, we can expect them to request other quotes from other suppliers. Instead, if they answer yes, it means that they are being open with us and will also carefully evaluate our offer, if they do not respond, it means that they have probably already decided where to buy the windows.

Obviously the customer should not be questioned so directly, but these questions, if mixed together with other questions of a more technical nature, enable us to understand if we are dealing with a relevant customer who is really interested in buying, thus avoiding time wasters. In this way it will also be possible to make less quotes,  with certainly a much higher probability of success.