The Qimtek network is designed to provide subcontract engineering suppliers with unrivalled access to active manufacturing buyers. That being said, your success with the membership will hinge upon the work that you’re prepared to put into it. If you’re looking to get the most out of your Qimtek membership, then here are five easy ways to do so – with little to no elbow grease required!
1. Follow a process and track your quotes:
In order to identify ways to streamline your sales process, it’s important that you record which companies you have quoted, for how much, and what for. There’s no use in just throwing quotes into the ether without measuring your success, as you may miss crucial opportunities to improve, or find yourself unable to identify what is and isn’t working.
Tracking your quotes doesn’t need to be complicated. We spoke with Richard Somers from B Hepworth & Co Ltd, who explained that he operates a three-strikes-and-out policy during this phase of the sales process.
‘I use a spreadsheet to record each quote I send out,’ Richard told us. ‘If we’re not competitive with the same buyer three times, then we won’t quote them again.’
‘This way, we spend more time focusing on the buyers that are keen to build a relationship with us, as opposed to the ones that are better suited to alternative suppliers.’
2. Remember that perseverance is essential:
Many suppliers become disheartened when they fail to win the first job that they quote. Like most things, the Qimtek membership – and sales overall – requires a degree of perseverance before it starts to bear fruit. How many of our members have won work from our buyers? Hundreds! How many of our members won the first job they quoted? Very few!
There’s no shame in asking for a little help if you do find that you’re struggling. Our membership support department are always on hand to offer advice and guidance. It’s also worth speaking to our sourcing advisors – they have firsthand experience with each of our buyers and may be able to offer you insight into what they favour within a potential supplier.
Either way, it’s crucial that you manage your expectations when it comes to new business and not expect to double your turnover overnight.
3. Quote only for the work that suits you best:
If you’re a sheet metal fabricator that specialises in the likes of brackets, then it will probably be a waste of time quoting for projects that require large framework. Similarly, machinists with multi-axis capabilities might find that their time is better spent quoting for small-scale production of intricate components than it is for thousands of washers.
By playing to your strengths, you will maximise your chances of winning the work you quote for, instead of spending your valuable time chasing jobs that aren’t suited to your setup.
If you aren’t competitive on a certain job then don’t take it personally, as in-house capabilities and overheads vary greatly from supplier to supplier. The beauty of the industry is that there are so many different niches – the company down the road may be able to provide a better quote than you for certain jobs and vice versa. The abundance of work means that there is more than enough to go around, without suppliers having to bend to the needs of every single buyer they encounter.
4. Clearly communicate with your clients and prospects:
Throughout all stages of the sales process, it’s important to communicate openly with the client. Inexperienced suppliers may make the mistake of believing that an emailed quotation is enough to get them in the door; however, this is often not the case. The power of rapport building should never be underestimated, and this is much better achieved by picking up the phone and having an actual conversation than it is through words on a computer screen.
It’s also imperative to keep communication going once you start receiving orders from a buyer. Not only does this enable the professional relationship to grow, but it also manages both yours and the client’s expectations and responsibilities.
This is something that Richard Somers from B Hepworth & Co agrees with wholeheartedly. ‘As soon as I receive an order from a customer, I clarify what they require and what is included within the price I have quoted,’ he explains.
‘That way, there’s no disappointment on delivery day and the working relationship gets off to the best possible start.’
5. Indicate your interest through the Qimtek network:
In order to increase your visibility within the Qimtek network, you should indicate your interest on each of the projects you receive. This is because a buyer will be unable to see that you have quoted unless you state so on the system.
Remember that our buyers have invited Qimtek members to quote for their project and by making it clear that you’re a Qimtek member, it removes the suspicion that yours is an unsolicited sales introduction or quotation. The only way to do this is by indicating your interest through our system. It’s really easy and can be done with a single click, bringing with it the benefit of a ‘warm’ introduction to a company you want to work with.
If you are unsure how to indicate your interest, then our membership support team will be more than happy to point you in the right direction – simply give them a call on 01256 394 500.