In Part 1 Jessica covered marketing your waterjet on the internet.  In this second part of a two post series I will cover some basic suggestions we’ve picked up over the years from successful job shops, concentrating on maximizing the power of your quote.

Of all the collateral you have as a job shop, it could be argued that the most important is your quote.  Nothing else you create will be scrutinized as thoroughly and compared side-by-side to your competitors as often as your quote.  Is your quotation setting you up for a simple price/delivery war with your competitors, or is it separating you from the pack by showing all the value you give beyond that price and delivery?

Make your quote about more than just price.

Let’s start with the look.  Your quotation should match your brand.  I have seen many contract job shops with unbranded or poorly branded quotes clearly built off a basic unattractive template. At a minimum, I would suggest you ensure your quotation has your logo professionally placed in the header.

Next, let’s create a short tag line that represents your primary message.  I can get into a lot of marketing detail right now about first creating a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that drives these tag lines, but I think I will bore most of you.  Instead, let’s jump right to the primary tag line for your quotes.  Yes, you want them to know about your quality, your delivery, your packaging, your capabilities, your QA, your ability to handle all file types, your staff talent, etc… But that is too much stuff to cram into a tag line on your job shop quotes.  You have the body of the quote to make more points, but for the tag line you need to pick something that sets you apart.  Pick something where you are especially proficient.  For example: XYZ Fabrication “Your on-time partner.” Or “Quality, every single time.”  Or “Get it fast, get it right.”  Or “The fabulous fabricators.” (OK, that one’s silly). The statement is only a few words and covers one idea.  Your idea can be broad, such as, “Quality, every single time,” but it is still just one idea. Insert this short statement under your logo on the quote, or close the quote at the bottom of the page with it.

Now comes the actual copy that is provided uniquely on your quote.  Help your prospect to see more than your price.  Help him see your value.  Sometimes shops include only quantity to be delivered, delivery time from receipt of drawings (and maybe receipt of material if provided by the prospect), terms, and price.  Nothing else.  In fact, some people feel the shorter the quote information the better, as it shows professionalism.  There is nothing fundamentally wrong with being clear, concise and professional, and it could be appreciated by your existing customers who already have experienced your services. However, what about the new prospect? I suggest you consider adding some color in short sentences that describe the experience customers can expect from your services.

Think about other aspects of your parts and services that set you apart.  For example, if the project is large you might include how your parts will be washed and packaged, how they might be labeled for tracking, how often you will provide updates on status, and what will occur with any rejected parts (warranties and guarantees).  Show your prospect you are offering more than just a part: you’re committed to delivering on all levels of parts and services. Here is where you expand beyond your USP to cover things that really matter to the prospect – things that calm his or her fears.

If creating this copy causes you concern because you’re really not the marketing type, you can follow a few simple steps that will walk you right into the right statements.  Draw a line down a piece of writing paper. On the left side write down the 5 to 10 things your prospect is most concerned about. This is from their perspective, not yours.  Then on the right side write down what you are sure your company can provide as the service to answer, or calm, those concerns.  Group as many of the concerns and answers together until you have 2 to 4.  Now you have the foundation of what to write in the quote. You should be able to, with relative ease, create a few short sentences for your quote that describe the level of service you will provide.  Here, you’re not writing tag lines.  Simply write short sentences or bullets describing what services you will be providing in language that calms your prospect’s fears.  Be factual, not flowery. I would bet you’ll end up with offerings that will resonate with your prospect.  There are plenty of positive things to talk about, so don’t exaggerate the truth.  If you are great at producing high quality but don’t really do anything fancy in packaging for shipment, then talk about high quality and don’t talk about packaging.  If you provide low prices and fast turnaround, but your waterjet is older or more basic in technology and won’t hit high tolerances, then talk about being “always competitively priced and on time,” but not about high precision.  Just tell the truth, clearly, concisely —  about what you rock at.

Quotations, especially for smaller job shops trying to gain new customers, can be a powerful tool to set your shop apart and give you a slightly better chance of winning business.  It doesn’t replace a phone conversation, or face to face meeting, or great word of mouth advocacy, but it can help sell your shop capability when you are not there with the prospect to do it yourself.  Hope this helps.  Let me know your thoughts.
chip

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