Creating a Professional Quote: How to Stand Out

Creating a Professional Quote: How to Stand Out

Creating a Professional Quote: How to Stand Out

When you can send a potential customer a quote, you are one step closer to a deal. However, don't be mistaken; sending a quote doesn't mean the customer will automatically choose you. There's a possibility that the customer has requested multiple quotes to make an informed decision.

That's why creating a distinctive and professional quote is incredibly important. This might be your last chance to convince the customer to choose your company. But what does a good quote look like? And what types of quotes are there? We'll explain it to you here so that you'll know exactly how to create a good quote.

By the way, make sure that during your conversation, you've done everything possible to avoid having to create a quote. Closing a deal can often happen right at the table. With the right questioning techniques, you can prevent the need for a quote. Strike while the iron is hot and don't let yourself be pushed into putting something on paper, except if it's an immediate order confirmation.



Types of Quotes

Before we provide you with tips on creating a professional quote, we'll explain the different types of quotes. Not all quotes are the same. For each type of quote, it's important to maintain a professional approach, but it's helpful to know the differences.

Requested and Unsolicited Quotes

Let's start with a very important distinction: there are requested and unsolicited quotes. A requested quote is sent after a specific request from a potential customer. They are interested in your offer and want to have it in writing to make an informed decision. However, you can also send an unsolicited quote, for example, in a mailing. It's good to know that a requested quote naturally has a much higher chance of being accepted than an unsolicited quote. Sending unsolicited quotes can be a strategy, but other sales techniques often have a higher chance of success.

Firm Quotes and Non-Binding Quotes

When creating a quote, you can choose to include an expiration date. If you do, it's a firm quote. This means that the customer has until that date to accept the offer, and you cannot make any changes to the price or terms in the meantime. You can also send a non-binding quote. This type of quote has no expiration date. The customer doesn't need to accept your offer by a specific date. This also means that you can make changes to the terms or prices in the meantime. You can also withdraw the non-binding quote if needed. Of course, you should communicate this with the other party.

Product Quotes and Service Quotes

Depending on whether your company sells products or services, you create product quotes or service quotes. You need to include different elements in both types of quotes. Moreover, it varies from customer to customer which aspects you include in the quote.

For a product quote, it can be interesting to mention the advantages and disadvantages of the product again. You can also include certain (technical) specifications in the quote. Keep in mind that not all customers are interested in this type of information. Therefore, tailor it to the specific needs of the customer. Information such as delivery times and volume discounts are always useful to include in the quote.

Creating a service quote can sometimes be a bit more challenging. After all, the service you're selling is much less tangible than a product. In a service quote, it's essential to gain the trust of the other party. You can achieve this with a professionally looking quote and by adding customer cases to the quote, for example. Furthermore, you should provide all relevant information about the service and demonstrate that you've understood the potential customer's needs. It's also possible to mention customer benefits here.

Project Quotes

In addition to individual product and service quotes, there are also project quotes. A project often spans a more extended period, and there are often multiple parties involved in a large project. In a project quote, it's especially important to outline the proposed approach thoroughly. If many parties are indeed involved in the project, it may also be wise to have a confidentiality agreement signed to reduce the risk of confidential information being misused.

Tender Proposal

A final type of quote is a tender proposal. In this case, a party specifically requests quotes from multiple companies. This stimulates competition among businesses, often leading the customer to hope for very competitive rates. Tender proposals typically involve significant projects or substantial orders. The requirements your company must meet to obtain the tender are always clearly defined. Therefore, ensure that your quote clearly demonstrates why you meet all the requirements.

What's in a Professional Quote

Now that we've defined various types of quotes, you probably want to know what aspects should not be missing from a professional quote. How do you create a professional quote? And what do you include at the bottom of a quote? We'll explain it all to you.

Useful and Convincing - The Ideal Quote

You can essentially divide a professional quote into two aspects. On one hand, there's the essential information you want to provide to the potential customer. On the other hand, you want to highlight what makes your product or service so good or unique.

To achieve a good structure for the quote, it's important to know what should be included and in what order. A consistent layout and structure have several advantages:

  • A unified outward appearance.
  • A more professional image.
  • More effective communication with the target audience.
  • More effective presentation.
  • Pricing/tariffs presented effectively (sandwich method).
  • Reduced chances of errors.
  • Contributes to a higher success rate.

A good Quote layout looks like this:

  1. Company Details.
  2. Date of the quote.
  3. Reference: If in use, the quote reference.
  4. Introduction: What is the reason for issuing the quote?
  5. Problem Statement: What problem/question does the customer have, what are the conditions? (part of the sales conversation)
  6. Pitch: A brief description of your company, usually the elevator pitch and/or mission statement.
  7. The Solution: Description of the solution.
  8. Customer Benefits: What are the benefits for the customer if they choose this solution? Note the difference between the specification, the usefulness of the specification, and the ultimate customer benefit. Customer benefits can be described directly with the solution. This doesn't necessarily have to be a separate section!
  9. Investment Overview: Here, list all prices in detail with any discounts. Show a total cost amount (if possible) without the customer needing to use a calculator. Use pricing methods (price per person/per session/per shipment/per item, etc.).
  10. Benefits of this Solution: Optimize the pricing by explaining what it brings to the customer and referring to the problem statement you described earlier.
  11. Conditions: Payment and delivery terms.
  12. Closure: Specify when you will follow up and, if the customer has any questions, who they can contact, with name, position, and possibly a direct phone number.

Important information you want to include in your quote are:

  • Your company's details, such as address, Chamber of Commerce (KVK) number, and contact information.
  • A unique quote number.
  • The date on which you send the quote.
  • The expiration date of the quote (for a fixed quote).
  • A brief description of the services/products you intend to deliver.
  • Prices excluding and including VAT, itemized as much as possible.
  • A reference to your company's general terms and conditions and the specific terms that apply to this quote.
  • How the customer can accept the quote.

All this information is crucial, but it won't necessarily persuade a hesitant customer. Also, this information will typically be present in all competitors' quotes, so it's not very differentiating.

That's why you should add more to a professional quote. Here, you briefly address the customer's initial question and how you'll solve it through the services or products in this quote. You can also briefly revisit your company, showcasing what makes your business unique. Ensure that this is concise and to the point. Quotes that are many pages long are usually not appreciated.

Ending a professional quote correctly is essential. At the bottom of your quote, inform the potential customer how they can accept it. Usually, this is done by signing it. After signing, the quote becomes a legally binding contract.

Professional quote

Examples and Templates

Now that you understand the meaning and content of a professional quote, let's talk about examples and templates. You can find countless examples of professional quotes online. You can use such an example for inspiration, but it's not advisable to copy it verbatim. A good professional quote is unique. This means that filling out an existing template won't have the effect you're looking for.

Instead, create your own template that fits your business well. Certain information, such as about your company, can be reused in every quote. You can also reuse the layout each time.

When creating such a template, pay close attention to both the text and the formatting. Incorporate your company's branding into the quote. Potential customers should be able to recognize that it's your quote at a glance. You can achieve this by including your company's logo on every page at the very least. Depending on your branding, you can also incorporate other elements into the quote's layout.

Additionally, it's wise to reserve space in your template for the potential customer's logo. It doesn't have to appear on every page, but it looks professional to include it on the front page at least. This way, the customer can see that the quote was specifically tailored to their company. These small details can have a significant impact.

Creating a Professional Quote: A Special Skill

Creating a professional quote requires time and attention, but it can achieve a lot. Professionally presented quotes, where the customer feels personally addressed and finds the information they are looking for, have a much higher chance of being accepted. Therefore, create your own template for quotes so that you can easily prepare a professional quote for each potential customer.

If you need assistance with creating professional quotes or encounter other issues in your sales process, the experts at Sales Improvement Group are happy to help. This way, you can improve various sales processes, leading to more success in your business.