How to write effective quotations with the customer as protagonist

1. Premise: placing the customer at the centre

All too often the quotations start with a pompous description of the professional or the company producing it, thus prompting the customer, perhaps unwittingly, to skip this part and jump directly to the price.

2. Solution: I can help you and I will tell you how

In order to keep the reader’s attention high you must, as soon as possible, answer a question that will be hovering in her mind: ‘What can you do for me, to solve my problem or satisfy my desires?’ So, this is the moment to describe how your products and services can help her. In presenting the solution you have conceived, it is essential to explicitly link the characteristics and qualities of your project to the benefits that they will bring to the customer. Everything you say must highlight how it will affect the customer and what benefits or improvements it will bring. If you find it helpful, you can review the ‘feature, thus benefit’ technique by re-reading the post B for Benefits. If this part of the quotation is not set out well, it risks becoming a sterile list of your products/services. In fact, all too often we start by assuming that the customer already knows and understands the benefits of a given solution and that it is superfluous to explain them. Moreover, bear in mind that often the customer will read the quotation alone and you will not be there to add and explain everything he/she will obtain by choosing your solution.

3. Details of the solution

This part should include a precise description of the technical, organizational and logistical aspects of the proposed solution. Depending on whether you are offering products or services, you will give a detailed description of: materials, models, quantities, days, hours, people involved, construction time …

4. When talking about costs, sell the value, not the price

In this phase, the price is stated clearly in order to make it easily comprehensible. When drafting a quotation, some professionals break down the offer into separate parts in a rather confusing manner, ‘so the price is more easily digested’. They may add all the possible and imaginable options, thus creating complex cost tables that make it extremely difficult to accurately calculate the expense.

5. Expected results

The last section of the document should reference the customer directly; through a brief summary of what will be achieved by adopting your solution, you will anchor the customer positively in the offer, guiding him in his choice.

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There is nothing strange about inviting the customer to choose your proposal and declaring, with elegant frankness, that you are happy to be able to assist him by providing your services and products.
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On the other hand, the part relating to ‘legal’ details and clauses should be left to the contract, which you will sign once the agreement is confirmed.

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