Sales quotes are an important part of your business. They inform potential customers of the costs and what to expect when signing a contract with your business. In the past, sales quotes were manually recorded and often discussed in person. Now, with COVID-19, businesses of all types and sizes are re-imagining how to conduct business in this new digital world.
One of the major challenges for online businesses is that new-age consumers anticipate a fast turnaround. Meaning, if you submit your sales proposal and they agree, you should send the sales quote as soon as possible. Preferably, on the same day.
It’s also likely that your prospective customers are considering other options. So you’ll need a sales quote that helps you stand out from your competitors. Whether you’re dealing with a small B2C or a multinational B2B corporation, you’ll need a sales quote that will appeal to even the pickiest decision-makers.
Below, we’ve included some key aspects of a sales quote that are often neglected. Try to focus on these key areas to impress your clients:
Aspects of Good Sales Quotes
1. Distinguish between a sales proposal and a sales quote.
Some people use the terms “sales proposal” and “sales quote” interchangeably. However, a proposal typically includes more information than a quote and reaches a client at the beginning of the sales funnel. Keep in mind that it’s important to provide concise wording and formatting when it comes to the actual prices and what your services will entail.
2. Format the quote so it’s easy to understand.
Clear quotes are key to earning a customer’s trust and business. Provide good information and make it easy for the customer to digest that information through simple formatting. Many of the sales quote templates used by business software have a format that’s similar to an invoice; customers are used to that format and know what to expect. Furthermore, be sure that any discounts or changes to original quotes are formatted in bold or italics to reduce the possibility of confusion.
3. Prepare to write a brief introduction.
Introductions are often included in a sales proposal, not the sales quote. However, a brief introduction in the quote could be helpful if you feel the quote would benefit from one, if no formal proposal was sent, or if there’s been a significant lapse in time between the proposal and the quote. In an introduction, you can:
- Recap your previous conversations and provide context.
- Link to any applicable information, such as product descriptions or the original proposal.
- Include your contact information so the potential customer can contact you with any follow-up questions.
This would also be a good time to add any notes that you haven’t talked about previously. This may include an additional discount you found that applies to the prospect’s contract. It could also be for a new quote option that includes a different product from what you originally discussed that might work better for the customer. When you’re including something in a quote that wasn’t part of what was originally discussed, it’s important to contact the customer and explain your alterations.
4. Include all the pertinent information.
A well-constructed sales quote has all the information a decision-maker needs to approve the transaction. This may include several different scenarios with different prices based on different products or discounts that could apply to that customer’s unique situation. Your contact likely prefers as much detail as possible, so this means including any applicable information that would help them make their decision. Using sales quote software makes this process simple.
5. Be transparent.
Another aspect of good service when it comes to sales quotes is being transparent and honest. Don’t try to create overly dramatic sales quotes that exaggerate your offering or give so much information that it becomes confusing to the customer.
List out your line items clearly and concisely. Proactively answer questions. A good quote will earn the right customer’s business, even if it’s not pages and pages of information.
6. Deliver it quickly.
A good quote is created and delivered fast. Thanks to sales quote software, it’s easy to create a quote and get it to a customer on time. By quickly submitting your quote to a potential customer, you benefit in multiple ways, such as:
- Increasing the chances of the lead reading your quote before your competitors.
- Ensuring a seamless decision process by providing all the information, readily at their disposal.
- Giving yourself enough time to churn out updated sales quotes and speed up the sales cycle.
Less-Obvious Aspects of a Good Sales Quote
Sometimes it’s not about the numbers. In fact, a majority of sales quotes produced do not generate any revenue.
Deals are lost for many reasons. Perhaps the salesperson pressured the client into making a decision too soon. Or they failed to follow up after the first engagement. The list goes on. However, sales reps can avoid these mistakes by building a relationship with a prospective client before presenting a sales quote or pitch. Establishing good rapport goes a long way toward gaining new customers and additional revenue.
The process of guiding a lead through the sales funnel — the communication and all the interactions between the salesperson and the prospects — is important in relationship building and helps secure business.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed how we interact with each other. In-person meetings rarely occur these days. If they do, it’s not without the necessary safety precautions. Rather than building a relationship in person, here are three ways to engage clients that follow the social distancing standards:
- Set up a remote call centre or business line: make sure you’re readily available to respond to a potential customer’s questions about the sales quote.
- Increase presence on social channels: this will help you respond quickly to real-time conversations and customer inquiries.
- Use versatile communication software: when discussing the sales quote with a potential client, use communication software that includes video and audio calls, as well as a screen-sharing feature.
More often than not, businesses and decision-makers will sign with a company because their team is great to work with and can meet specific budget requirements. This is one area which small and midsize businesses can excel because of their flatter hierarchy. Focus on providing high-quality, personalised service that meets your deadlines.
Here are some of the additional aspects of a good sales quote that go beyond the document:
Use Soft Skills and Build a Relationship
Skills such as active listening, empathy, and adaptability are all important and make for a good salesperson. The arts of conversation and listening are just as important in sales as the products and services you’re offering your clients.
An effective sales team consists of charismatic people that customers enjoy talking to. No matter whether they’re introverted or extroverted, great salespeople can empathise with customers’ pain points and listen to what they have to say. Alternatively, salespeople who come across as rushed or in a hurry to finalise a deal will often scare the customer away. A good salesperson focuses on building a relationship, not just getting the sale.
Pay Attention to Delivery and Follow-Up
A good introduction sets your sales quote up for success, but that isn’t the only thing that introduces your quote. Make sure that the delivery of your sales quote follows two rules:
- It’s on time, as expected by the customer.
- It’s delivered by a method that is easiest for them to receive.
When you’re ready to deliver your sales quote, send a formal email or schedule a phone call. After you deliver a quote, it’s important to follow up to continue the relationship and see if the client has any questions.
If you don’t receive any feedback, it’s time to evaluate your next step. For many customers, it can take a few follow-up attempts before they finally reply, as they’re busy with other obligations and a new business deal may take a back seat. Be consistent with follow-ups without being pushy or annoying.
Pitch Sales Quotes by Outcome
Typically, customers want to know about the final result and not the steps taken to get there. So make sure your sales quote provides the outcome your customer expects. Otherwise, you’ll have to redo your sales quote to suit their expectations.
Spend your conversations leading up to the sales quote figures by explaining what your products or services can provide the customer. Instead of saying, “We offer XYZ products,” try an angle like, “Our XYZ products can decrease your turnover rates by 20% and potentially lower return rates by 35%.”
Craft a Sales Quote That Sets You Apart
The perfect sales quote includes clear and concise information and reflects a genuine relationship built between the salesperson — and their company — and the customer. Losing a sale due to confusing sales proposals or quotes, slow delivery times, or a rushed relationship has consequences beyond the lost revenue. You may also lose out on potential referrals or additional business opportunities with that client.
Once a lead is ready, make sure you can quickly and easily send them a sales quote. Using templates and software to create sales quotes is an easy way to present the information quickly and clearly so the decision-makers can choose what works best for them. This helps transition the relationship smoothly, building a better experience for all involved.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand that many businesses – especially SMBs – are struggling to stabilise in this new digital world. To help businesses acclimate to the current market, we’ve created a list of resources for small businesses in the EU facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Get all the necessary resources you need to help stabilise your business during the global pandemic.