You better not be making this mistake…
Recently we needed some work done in my garden; to be precise, it was to put back up several garden fences that had been blown down by storm Gertrude (where do they get these ridiculous names from?).
We called a local gardener who came highly recommended by a neighbour.
He came to the house and gave me a rough estimate on how much it was going to cost.
Seeing as I am never keen to do business on a ‘rough estimate’ quote – I have had my fingers burnt too often to fall for that again – I asked him to put the quote in writing.
“I only put quotes in writing once you have agreed to hire me,” he said.
So I ask if he could at least e-mail or text me the price and how long it will take to get the work completed.
He again point blank refused, explaining that he did not know how to text or e-mail.
His behavior illustrates (to me, anyway) a few simple but obvious business lessons.
First, if your customer asks for a written quote or how much you charge for your services, give it to him.
When offering your services to clients it is always best to let them know the recruitment fee upfront and send them a copy of your Terms of Business as confirmation.
Hoping and praying that your client will just pay the invoice as and when you place a successful candidate is just an accident waiting to happen.
Coming back to my gardener, refusing the customer’s first request – in this case, my asking for the estimate in writing – is not a good way to start off.
Second, in the 21st century, you don’t have to be able to do both text and e-mail … but you better darn sure be able to do at least one: This is how people communicate today.
I said if he didn’t text or e-mail he could just fax the quote to us. Of course, he doesn’t have a fax machine.
I don’t think you have to use every mode of communication your clients use. But you do have to use at least some of them.
Saying you don’t Skype … or don’t have an email address or don’t know how to open a PDF file … doesn’t speak well for you these days.
So I told the gardener he could just put the quote in the mail to me.
Of course, he said he doesn’t have a computer or a printer so cannot prepare written quotes.
But you can buy preprinted quote forms online or in most stationery stores and just write in your estimate with a pen.
Surely he can operate a pen, right?
Needless to say, this gardener did not get the business.
Thought For The Day
You are the only problem you will ever have and you are the only solution.
Change is inevitable, personal growth is always a personal decision.