Your free quoting tool is slowly killing your profit potential

| By:
Sam Demulling

Using a free quoting tool? Because it’s truly what’s best for your business or because it’s free? The word ‘free’ is captivating, enticing, and extremely powerful. Given two options, one free and one with a price tag attached, our brain will default to choosing anything free because it makes a quick rule of thumb judgment that it’s the better option.

Brain: Why would you pay for something when you could have it for free?
You: You’re right. That makes sense. Let’s go with the free option.

Though our brain is acting with the best intentions, all decisions made based on the brain’s quick rule of thumb (known as ‘affect heuristics’ in psychological terms if you’re interested) should be vetted by deeper thought. Does ‘free’ really mean ‘free?’ We all know the saying “Nothing in life is free,” yet we’re so blinded by it that we forget to dig deeper. What’s the catch? You’re likely paying in other ways—inefficiency, errors, and potentially lost sales. Is it truly worth it in the long run? Does the benefit of free outweigh the underlying costs?

Here are a few things to consider:

Is your current process efficient?

You probably have a familiar process in place that takes some time, but that’s just the way it is. But can you honestly say that manually sharing and entering all that data is the best use of your team’s time?

72% of salespeople spend up to an hour a day just on data entry and connecting records. That may not seem like a lot, but nearly three-quarters of your sales team sinking five hours into data entry during the last week of a sales quarter is probably not something you want to see. On average, admin tasks that could be easily automated cost a business 19 working days per year, per employee. That is 19 full days that could be dedicated to value-added activities for every single member of your team.

Is your current process accurate?

Getting quotes out fast is the name of the game. But with a manual process, you might be sacrificing accuracy for speed. Humans are going to make mistakes which have a ripple effect. You got the quote out fast, but it has errors that need to be fixed so now your team is spending more time fixing those errors. Strike one. Your customer got the quote and saw the errors, and now their perception of you and your company is not good. Strike two. They went with someone else that had a more buttoned-up process, and they’ve recommended the new company and simultaneously talked about their bad experience with you. Strike three. You wonder why you lost the sale and blame it on something else. You think "Maybe they got a better price." But the hard truth is the job slipped right through your fingers because your process reflected poorly on your company.

On the flip side, let’s say you land the job. Everything seems to be going smoothly until it’s time to send out the invoice. The amount to be invoiced is significantly less than the job was worth. A quick check of the contract reveals where the error occurred. Do you send out the invoice at the lower amount or have a very uncomfortable conversation that may damage the customer relationship to try and reduce the financial loss you’ll incur?

Both scenarios while devastating are also completely avoidable.

Should you settle for just good enough?

Your current process works, you still get a steady stream of customers, so you’re comfortable not spending extra money on a quoting tool. While what you’re doing seems to be working, the real question is whether it could be improved for better results. Change is the only constant in life, and if you’re not changing, you’re not growing. Don’t get stuck doing things the way you’ve always done them just because change is scary. Strive for continuous improvement.

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford

Should you be using a faster horse (encouraging employees to master your current process) or a car (a tool designed for quoting)? If you think it’s easier to ask them to just master the process than to spend the money on a tool, you’d be sadly mistaken. Manual processes affect employee retention with 86% of employees looking for new jobs citing broken processes as a deciding factor. And it costs you 6 to 9 months’ salary on average to replace an employee.

A better way to quote

A tool designed for quoting is an investment that can alleviate the issues of inefficiency and inaccuracy. It will allow you to eliminate wasted time spent manually pulling and compiling information from various sources, and then entering it. All the data you need is quickly at your fingertips, ready to be dropped into professional-looking, customizable templates with just a few clicks. Errors are minimized, which saves not only time but makes a good first impression and builds a relationship of trust with customers.