A series of good tips to make a quote that puts the customer in the ideal condition to sign the contract. What is a quote and how is it done? Essentially the estimate is the calculation of the expected costs for a job, a list of items justifying a total asking price. Often the estimate is essentially a contract proposal that the professional or the company addresses to the customer, committing himself to perform the service described in the quote itself, to the indicated amount and in the ways indicated.
The estimate if compiled to perfection is the decisive element that will determine the beginning of a relationship with a customer. Needless to turn around too much. Although your reputation and your marketing and communication strategies may have led a potential customer to contact you, it will be only after evaluating your estimate that it will decide whether or not to rely on you rather than one of your competitors.
Often, however, we consider the estimate as a mere formality, thus risking losing a business opportunity that seemed to have been awarded.
The quote is not just a question of price. Making an effective estimate is a matter of detail. The client must recognize your offer distinguishing it from the others he may have received, must have all the elements to make his decision and commission the work as soon as possible.
You will always have to think of your quote as your business card, in which you present not only a commercial offer, but yourself, your business and above all your professionalism.
Timeliness, clarity, competence and seriousness are the values that must emerge from an estimate drawn up and presented properly. Always keep this in mind.
Also remember that the quote is formulated for use and consumption of the customer, even that customer. So make sure that your proposal exactly meets your specific requirements, making you feel that your offer has been studied and calibrated specifically for clients.
Here are our tips to write the estimate that every customer would like to receive …
Nobody likes to wait. Try to answer a request for a quote as quickly as possible, obviously after making all the appropriate assessments. Timeliness does not mean hurry, OK? In any case, always report well the date when you present your proposal.
You will demonstrate to the client that he was quick to respond to his request, and you will also have created a unique reference for all communications between you and the customer.
The date is 17/03/2018? The quote will be called 17032018, 170318, 17032018A and so on.
By referring to date and / or number, you and the customer will always know what you are talking about.
It may seem superfluous, for some it seems even aggressive to establish an expiration date of the offer. But whether it is the supply of physical products or services, the market is constantly moving, prices may vary due to factors that may not even depend directly on you.
For this reason it is advisable to always assign a deadline to the offer, after which a new negotiation may be necessary. Do not impose too tight deadlines to not put the customer under pressure, but do not stretch the time too much, leaving too much rope.
Even your time is precious and as you have shown yourself to be quick in responding to your request, even the client should demonstrate seriousness and promptness by answering you in a short time.
Data of the parties
One of the main reasons why a budget is not likely to be successful is because the two parties do not communicate with each other for the simple fact that they do not know who to contact and how to contact him.
Names, surnames, qualifications, company names, VAT numbers, addresses and contact details must be clearly visible in the estimate.
If your business is managed by more than one person, establish who will manage the relationship with that particular client, and with which other person he will have to relate (i.e. manager acquired), indicating name and surname of both.
Any communication should take place afterwards must be as direct as possible, avoiding waiting and passages for switchboards or worse still call center, or sending emails to generic addresses (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) with the risk that they will be lost.
Form, synthesis and completeness
Who are you talking to? Each customer is a separate case, tries to dialogue with him using the most appropriate language every time. The use of technicalities can be indicated, and even desired when you turn to experts in a particular sector, but in other cases can put the customer in awe or create confusion. However, try to always use a direct, simple language that goes straight to the point. In the case of particularly detailed estimates, separate the text in well-spaced paragraphs, use bullets or numbered lists, use bold and underlining to highlight the most important concepts.
Before sending your estimate, take the time to reread it, perhaps aloud, check for misprints and make sure everything is clear, smooth and leave no errors of interpretation, pending points, etc.
If the quotation is made up of several items, aided with a list of points to describe them one by one, reporting at the end the total price, including VAT, withholding tax, INPS compensation and any other tax is provided by your tax regime.
If you have decided to apply a discount, be sure to report it clearly.
A small suggestion: if the discount applied is important, highlight the percentage, if it is low show it simply calculated on the total amount. To further encourage the client, he uses the principle of scarcity, a technique of persuasion elaborated by the American psychologist Robert Cialdini, imposing a deadline at the discount. It can be a time limit with a precise date e.g. “Offer valid until …”, or based on the availability of the goods, e.g. “while stocks last”.
Remember to include any additions or changes to the job for which you are submitting an offer. Once the customer has accepted your proposal, he must know that any further request will have a separate account. Try to be very clear on this point, or risk finding yourself in trouble managing a difficult customer without earning anything or even forgiving us. Has version A been approved? Well, you worked on that. Do you want a B version? Specify how much it will cost you. Clear agreements and long friendship, OK?
This also applies to the supply of products, in terms, for example, shipping costs, collection of goods, returns, disposal, etc.
When you enter this item, make sure you have all the work management process under control, and can actually guarantee a certain delivery date.
Make it very clear that you will start working after acceptance of the quote, and not from its presentation. If the start of the work is subject to receipt of components, material, or information from third parties (which may be the customer himself or your suppliers), underlines this point to avoid finding yourself liable to others in case of delayed deadline.
Terms of payment
Indicate how and when you want to be paid, as clearly as possible. Actually, let’s face it: stupid proof. Whether you are paid by bank transfer, credit card, PayPal or any other form, provide in detail all the information necessary to make the payment. If the expected balance is of a certain consistency, you can request a down payment at the beginning of work, or propose a payment (e.g. 33% at the beginning of work, 33% at delivery, 34% at 30/60 days).
If you plan to anticipate the costs do not make problems and ask for a deposit without fear, the important thing is to immediately put all the cards on the table.
Remember that the quote is a document used by the customer. It is he who must approve it, do not forget to add at the end a space dedicated to “stamp or signature for acceptance”.
Once you have the signature, and then the acceptance of your quote, make sure that both you and the customer have a copy.
Quote models, examples and facsimile
As we often stress and the eye also wants its part. Then try to create tailor-made quote templates for your business. Customize the model provided by your software for estimating and billing, or if you use text editors like Word, try to take care of the layout so that the identity of your company or your professional studio is transparent. In many cases, estimates are very schematic, especially in the realities of commerce that draw up estimates often composed of dozens of items.