Often enough, quotations are standard forms. Easy to use but not very effective, unfortunately. They are boring and the recipient’s attention remains focused on the price. Instead of attracting new customers, they risk doing the opposite. Here are a few suggestions about writing quotations that generate sales.
Whatever you are selling – outdoor windows, security doors or wooden flooring – your clients will ask you for a written quotation. Ask yourself this: “Are my quotations capable of generating a sale, or do they send the client away?”.
Your answer could be one of the two given below:
But let’s start from the beginning. When someone asks you for a quotation, they are showing actual interest in your products. Certainly, you are interested in serving them and you get to work. You talk with them, you show them the products and you highlight the quality. Finally, you give them the quotation.
And what happens then? Does 60-80% of the quotations turn into sales? If not, do you know why? An answer such as: “The competition quoted lower prices” might be true in a minority of cases. So the real reasons for the non-purchase need to be found elsewhere.
Perhaps your quotation is too standard, impersonal. In addition to giving the price, it doesn’t say much about the quality of your product and about the benefits the client will have. Probably, the time has come to dedicate more time to your quotations, to make them better and, in writing them, to focus properly on the client it is intended for.
Using a computer program to write a quotation is quite convenient. The program will describe the features of the door or window, for instance. All of the windows will be illustrated, with the indications of the hardware used, of the EPDM gaskets and of the other components. Most of them, however, will not be easily understood by an inexperienced client because almost certainly it is the first time he or she buys windows.
In this case, the problem is the non-listing and lack of description of the benefits the product offers: energy savings –best not to be left unspecified –, road noise abatement, a 10 year warranty on handle functioning (call it a handle, not something else difficult to understand). Other benefits that should be included are the easy payment conditions and/or on-time delivery.
When the only thing that is clear on the quotation is the price, it is highly probable that the client will start seeking another potential supplier that listens to him/her more closely, that writes a truly customised quotation and that before stating the price lists all of the benefits the client will enjoy once the installation is done. Most probably, that client will say ‘yes’ even if the price asked is higher.
There are dozens of obstacles that can sink a sale, and a misleading or badly presented proposal is one of them. Standardised offers don’t work and should be put aside.
Here are some guidelines for making a quotation work and make the sale easier to achieve:
The structure of a customised offer therefore envisages three central stages: problem, promises, solution (product) proposed.
Remember that it is the importance of the problem that determines the willingness to spend money to obtain an adequate solution. Someone once said: “We are willing to spend a lot in order to save”.
Someone could object that the drafting of such a customised quotation has its costs. But when a quotation structured as suggested above pushes the success rate of your quotations from 30% to 50%, how much profit is that?
Do the math and you will agree that it is better to make a few less standardised (i.e. easy) quotations in order to gain the time required to make those customised quotations that increase sales.
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