How to create a quote that sells

And reduce the chance of unpaid invoices

Avoiding unpaid invoices starts with making a clear quote. With an accurate quote, you bring the expectations of both parties into focus. Your customer can count on your high-end service or high-quality product and knows what you expect of them. Moreover, a well-prepared quote helps you win the deal. With the following tips, you can devise a quote that makes money.

What is a quote?

As a supplier of a service or product, you draw up a quote at the request of a potential customer. This is a formal proposal of an agreement between the two parties.

You increase the chance of the potential customer going into business with you if you devote sufficient time and attention to a solid quote. Write down clearly in the quote what your customer can expect from you and what the payment will be in return. Once the customer has approved the quote, you have a binding contract that has rights and obligations built-in.

Six tips for a watertight quote

Sometimes a potential customer will compare your quote with some others. So, make sure your quote is the best match for the customer's needs. How do you do that?

1. Listen to the customer's needs

Thoroughly analyse what your potential customer is asking. Go further and ask yourself exactly what they need and base your quote on that. The customer is often not an expert in your field, so feel free to make additional suggestions. Describe the services or products you will provide as benefits for the customer.

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2. Seize the opportunity to show your expertise

The customer has a good reason for outsourcing the job to you—they have little knowledge of the subject themselves. By suggesting elements in your quote that they have not considered, you demonstrate that you are thinking along with them.

Attaching your portfolio can also be an enormous added value. Even if the content of your quote is perfect, it is still difficult for the customer to imagine exactly what you will deliver. A concrete overview of previous work can win them over.

3. Clearly describe the expectations for both parties

Be well-organised and clear, but not too concise. With a good quote, the customer knows exactly what they can expect and what they will have to pay for it. This reduces the chance of discussions, disputes, or disagreements afterwards.

What will you deliver, when will you do it, what information do you need before you can get started, what about feedback on the work done or exchanging the products, etc.? Ask yourself all the questions a customer might have and answer them in your quotation.

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4. Deliver a transparent price

Your potential customer will be more willing to accept the total price of your offer if they know the cost price of each part. It is therefore to your advantage to be as transparent as you can about this.

Is it the intention that the customer 'shops' for separate elements of your quote? It is not. So clearly indicate that the final price applies only to the whole. If necessary, state that the prices will change if the customer does not purchase the total package.

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5. Take your customer's budget into account

With a price quote that comes close to what your potential customer expects, you increase the chance of success. Dare to ask your client about their budget or make an estimate yourself. If your price and your customer's budget are too far apart, the hard work you invest in the quote could turn out to be a waste of time.

6. Make sure your quote is complete

What a quote looks like depends, of course, on what your company does. A quote for building a house or a website, for example, will contain many more details than a quote for delivering a car.

Nevertheless, a few things are indispensable in a good quote:

  1. your contact details and VAT number
  2. the contact details and VAT number of your potential customer
  3. the date
  4. the products or services you will deliver
  5. the offer reference number
  6. the deadline: when will you deliver what you describe in this offer?
  7. the price
  8. the period of validity of the offer: how long does the customer have to accept it or not?

When do you send out your quote?

The best time to send your quote is right now. Your potential customer is in a hurry, and your competitors may already have completed their quotes. So, respond to a request for a quote as quickly as you can. Is that really not possible? Then give the potential customer a call and discuss a deadline. That way, you will still make a good first impression.

Finally, customers appreciate an involved supplier. Call your potential customer after you have sent the quote. Enquire after any concerns about the quote and show that you are prepared to think along with your customer.

Good luck!