Creating Effective Quotes

Quotes are an interesting way to gain new business…. instead of your asking people for their business, these are people who are coming to you and asking you to provide a service! If you can agree on the price and details… you’ve got the business! Although quotes are sometimes written to individuals, most quotes tend to be addressed to larger groups, like private companies, organizations, and governmental entities. Whether for an individual or group, effective quotes share the same basic qualities. Our job is to recognize what makes effective quotes.

A quote should always include these three basic sections: What, When, and Why. ‘What’ service will you provide includes the treatments and the traps/lights/stations that you’ll install and maintain. ‘When’ refers to required lead time and potential intervals of service. ‘Why’ succinctly explains the value of your service in contrast to other options and points out the risks of not selecting any control. Only after covering these three basics, do you talk of prices.

After you have clearly stated the basics, it is time for your prices. Experience has shown you should almost always offer three price tiers. Whatever you call them, your intent is that one of these prices will hit your customer’s ‘sweet spot’.

You’ll find there are three ways people will respond to a quote. Some people will always gravitate to the highest dollar tier, always wanting the ‘Best’. Make sure your high dollar option is there for them. Other customers will look only at the lowest price hoping for a bargain. In most cases, they will only look at that bottom dollar tier. Even though they’ll only consider the lowest tier, the presence of two higher prices exist to make ‘their’ tier look more like a bargain.  In some cases, you might be able to help them see the advantages of stepping up one notch, but not very often.  But the sizable majority of people will immediately lean to whatever you put in the middle tier. They’ll always say the high tier is too much and the low tier is too cheap to be adequate. Interestingly, these ‘middle-choosers’ are more interested in being in the middle than what the price is. By offering three price tiers, you dramatically increase the likelihood that your prospect will say yes to one of the price tiers. … the one that matches his or her ‘type’ of customer.

Effective quotes clearly state the What, When and Why of your service. These basics provide the background and focus, while answering their unspoken questions in advance. Then, by having three price tiers you’ve appealed to the highest fraction of customers.

Writing a good quote is not easy, but using this framework will go a long way to insuring that you win a lot of the quotes you work to prepare.

Focusing on preparing the quote, is very important. It is, essentially your presentation. But equally key is the followup:

Here is where software can really help you. Alerts are a calendar-like function that can remind you when some task needs to be done. Although any calendar can work, having Alerts inside your database where you work all day insures that the alert won’t get missed. Typically, Alerts can be created for any customer for common prefixed interval like 1 day, 3 day, 1 week, etc.  Or, they can be set for any specific date in the future. In any case they include plenty of room for notes. As soon as your quote goes out, create several calendar ‘Alerts’ in your system to serve as followup reminders: an alert in a couple days to make sure they received it; another Alert in a week or so to check in; and maybe an Alert at 3 weeks to ask “any questions?” The goal is to ‘not drop the ball’, and to give your prospect plenty of chances to say ‘yes’. Or, at the least, multiple opportunities to ask questions that you can address. Don’t neglect to followup on the Quotes you have worked so hard to prepare.

You can also use Alerts to followup on the quotes you offered, but that were not accepted. For example, if a quote was declined, create an alert for a year from now to try again. After a year they might be more ready for your service options.

Creating effective quotes is an important part to growing your business and boosting your profits. Use these guidelines to improve the success of your quotes.