This is a little disclaimer that I will be adding to the beginning of every post in this ten part series so new readers that jump in mid way will understand the premise for these posts. If you have been following through the entire series, you can skip the following paragraph to get to the latest lesson.
If you are just joining us, I am writing a series of 10 basic principles that will help you increase your conversion rate of turning potential prospects into paying customers. If you missed that post, then I recommend that you click on the title, “10 Basic Principles for Turning Your Prospects into Clients” and give it a read before going on.
We’re getting close to the end of this series – and close to the point of turning a prospect into a client. Today, we’ll discuss the importance of keeping the heat on by submitting a persuasive quotation. You’re at the point where the prospect is ready to make a decision whether to move forward with you, a competitor – or possibly not at all. Don’t blow it by simply submitting a price.
I learned this lesson the hard way a couple of months back. I knew better, but I didn’t heed my past experience or listen to my inner voice. The prospect said that although other people quoted them on the project, they were only considering me at that point based upon the fact that I did the strongest job following the previous steps in this series.
I assumed since I was the only person in the running and since I discussed various aspects of the project with the prospect through previous conversations, all they wanted (or needed) was a break down on pricing with some quick bullets on deliverables.
In response to my follow-up inquiry on my quotation, the prospect returned to me a quote from a competitor wondering why I hadn’t submitted a quote in greater detail as they had. All I could respond with was I assumed they understood certain aspects of my services from previous emails. What a maroon!
The last I heard from the prospect, they chose to put the project on hold, but they would contacting me again at a specific date in the future. The date came and went and so did the prospect. I was the only person in the running for a project and I blew it. I turned a very warm prospect cold.
Here are my top 7 recommendations separating a persuasive quotation from just a quote.
1. Include the prospects goals and objectives in your quotation.
Since you asked the “expected results” question, you should already know what the prospect hopes to gain by retaining your services or buying your products. By re-iterating their goals and objects back to them on your quotation, it shows that you listen, that you clearly understand the purpose for your services / products, and gives the prospect a chance to correct any errors prior to becoming a client.
2. Detail out your deliverables.
Give the prospect a clear picture about what they will be buying. Don’t leave them second guessing. If you do, you create the opportunity for cold feet. For example, if you are providing copywriting services – as I do – simply creating a line item on a quotation that states “copywriting services” is a big liability. Detail out specifically by name what you will provide – i.e. press release for …, new copy for customersite.com home page, etc. and under each item provide a description of what you plan to accomplish – focus target market, improved SEO using specific keywords / phrases, and so on.
3. Include any deliverables that are the prospect’s responsibility.
In some cases, the prospect may have responsibilities to ensure a prosperous project. If they do, they will appreciate that you clearly communicated what you need from them. This will help create the impression that you are an organized, efficient, take-charge project leader.
4. Provide pricing the way the prospect wants to see it.
If you typically price your services by the hour, but the prospect requests pricing by project, submit a project price. If you are giving the prospect a discount, make sure you mention it. Don’t waste this opportunity. However, don’t create an elevated rate so you can show that you are generously giving a “discount”. Most prospects are wise to this game having shopped around. This tactic simply erodes the trust factor.
5. Don’t be afraid to include a termination clause.
Projects or multiple shipments of products over an extended period of time can terminate for a variety of reasons. Clearly defining a cancellation clause in the quote instills confidence that you are a pro – while protecting both you and the prospect should the project go awry. This gives you a better opportunity to win back their business in the future.
6. Offer up suggestions – again.
Although you offered up suggestions three steps ago, include all appropriate ideas again on your quotation. Give the prospect a clear path for continued grow – and a future need for your services. Plus, most prospects buy based upon value and not simply pricing.
7. Provide examples of similar work.
Whether including samples or dropping names of clients with similar needs, give the prospect an extra push that they can have similar results if they sign up with you.
Providing a persuasive quotation is another opportunity to turn a prospect into a client. Don’t waste it by assuming that submitting a price is sufficient. The prospect isn’t a client until they sign on the dotted line. Give the extra effort to convince them that you are solopreneur to meet their needs.
Last up in this series, “Follow-up the Same Day”.
All The Best,
The Solopreneur’s Guide