Simply put, if you don’t ask for the business, well, you won’t get it.
My latest experience was discussing a project that was several months away. My customer explained that he was choosing my company for the work and that, in 6 months, he’d call me to get things moving. GREAT.
But all I had at the point was a verbal commitment. My boss and team were happy, but I knew I screwed up by not getting anything written.
A month later, I invited my customer to lunch to get further clarification on the work schedule and also to get the proposal signed.
After talking about our kids, baseball, lawn mowers, cows, BMW’s, and Ford F-250’s I explained to him that I’d like him to sign the quote to reserve the equipment at the current prices and that I’d make sure we’d do an awesome and safe job for him.
He agreed and signed it on the spot. Sometimes things work out, but I could have very easily met with him, not discussed work at all (I forget to do that sometimes) and see where things would have gone.
By asking for his signature, it’s a way for both of us to commit to the work. He no longer has to find a vendor, and we can start planning for the job. In a lot of ways, getting the work lined up months in advance is better for the both of us and further cements our relationship.
The only time I’d recommend not asking for the work is if you just met and you haven’t built that rapport yet.
Good luck selling folks, and, when the time is right, ask for the work.