Your quotation is often the first official contact you have with a prospect, so it matters that you make a positive impression. Quotations should be clear, professional and consistent, and contain information that helps your potential customer to make a decision in your favour. Whether you’re selling products or services, our virtual customer service assistant guide to building a persuasive quotation will help to get you on the right track.
Step One: Research your industry
There’s often a standard approach within a business sector or industry, which means your customers will expect to see your quotation laid out in a certain way. Knowing what this standard approach is will avoid confusion with customers, which could result in them rejecting your quote because they can’t easily compare it with others. So do some research to see what’s expected.
Step Two: Reinforce your branding
Your business will look most professional if you use your branding consistently. If you don’t have any business branding, consider investing in some: it needn’t break the bank and you can automatically stand out from the competition. You can use your branding across all your communications with customers, from quotes to instructions and invoices.
Step Three: Build a template
Rather than having to create a new quotation every time you get a request, it’s efficient business practice to have a template. That way, the standard information is already in place and you just need to fill in the specific details for the customer you’re dealing with. You can use a standard template from your word-processing package, create a bespoke template yourself or if you work with an outsourced sales management service ask them to create a template that works for you.
Step Four: Include all relevant information
Your quotation should have some common elements. These include:
- A unique quotation number: It doesn’t matter what system you use, but make sure you keep it consistent
- Name and address of your customer
- Date of quotation and the length of time it is valid – 30 days is the usual length
- Your business address and details – this should include any company registration numbers and address, and your VAT number if you are VAT registered
- Terms and conditions – you may already have terms and conditions of business on your website but attaching them to your quote, or ensuring you clearly direct customers to them means that you are clear that an acceptance of the quote is acceptance of your terms.
Step Five: Work out your pricing
Before you put anything into your quotation, make sure you have carefully worked out the job you have been asked to do and the associated pricing. Experienced outsourced sales support solutions providers would advise you not to prepare your quote until you’re absolutely clear about what’s involved. If you are quoting for products, there may be several types and you may be offering discounts for quantity. If you are a service provider, you may need to separate out the elements of your service and any other costs associated with it line-by-line so that it’s clear what you are quoting for.
Step Six: Additional information
It may be that the project has certain conditions attached to it. Perhaps your customer needs to supply you with certain information before you begin. Perhaps you always ask for a percentage deposit. Or perhaps your work has to be carried out at a certain time. Always detail this information on your quotation so that your customer is making an informed decision and is aware of those conditions.
Step Seven: Acceptance terms
Make sure it’s clear to your potential customer how they can accept the quote. This will largely depend on the type of business you run. Some attach a form for signature and return; others ask for email acceptance quoting the unique reference number. Others just need a phone call. But, as all virtual sales assistants will tell you, it’s good business practice to have a record of the quotation’s acceptance should there be a disagreement down the line.
Customers appreciate a quick turnaround from enquiry to quotation, so our top tips as outsourced services sales support professionals are to create a branded template and have a clear way of listing and pricing your products or services. And always, always double check your quotation before sending to make sure you have all the details correct.
We hope you found our virtual customer service assistant guide useful – if you’re short on time and need help with professional sales support, feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above.