Making a winning quotation: 9 tips

Good news: a potential client asks you for a quotation. Chances are that the client will compare your offer with the offers of other entrepreneurs, and then make a choice. Here is how you ensure that your quotation stands out.

In a quotation, you describe your offer to a potential customer. You tell them what you have to offer, how you will approach the project, and what price you charge. To a large extent, you determine what your quotation looks like. Yet there are some mandatory elements (in Dutch). Think of the date, quotation number, and term of validity. View a sample quotation to see how to do this.

Writing a good proposal can take a lot of time and energy. Increase the chance of winning with your quotation with the following 9 tips.

1. Check the expectation

When you receive a quotation request, it is tempting to immediately get started. But sometimes that is not even necessary. Check whether your client actually needs a complete quotation, or whether a price estimate is enough. This can save you a lot of time. Some clients only request different quotations because it is their policy to do so. In such cases, they already know with which party they want to work. Always check whether you are a serious candidate. Ask additional questions about the assignment and ask what expectations the client holds. That way you know how much effort to put into your quotation.

2. Ask about planning and budget

Are you sure you can carry out the assignment? Ask the client about their schedule and the available budget. If the job has to be done during a period when you are not available, making a quotation is a waste of your time. Does the available budget not come close to the price you ask? Then decline the assignment. Does the assignment suit you and will you draw up a quotation? Ask in advance when you can expect feedback. This way, you show your genuine interest and you know when to take your own planning into account.

3. Continue to ask questions

Are you a serious contender and does the assignment fit within your schedule and budget? Then make sure you have a clear picture of the client's exact wishes. Asking further questions will give you additional information, which helps you show in your quotation that you understand the assignment. The more a client sees their own story in your quotation, the greater their confidence that you are the right party to do business with.

4. Do not be too eager

Enthusiasm is good if you want to win an assignment. Still, too much enthusiasm can also work against you. If a client notices that you absolutely want the assignment, they can use this when negotiating the price. Do not just give a discount to get an assignment. This sends the message that your regular price is too high for the quality of work I deliver. Before you know it, this new, discounted rate will be the standard rate for this client. You sell yourself short if you get more assignments from this client.

5. State your terms and conditions

Be clear about your delivery and payment terms. Delivery terms cover liability for your product or service. Payment terms determine how and when an invoice must be paid. When you make an offer, you include a copy of your terms and conditions. Ask your client to return a signed copy if you get the job. This prevents discussions afterwards.

6. Be specific

It is important to avoid misunderstandings about unforeseen costs. Be clear about what your client can expect for the price and delivery time you quote. For example, in a quotation for a logo design, specify the number of correction rounds included in the price. State explicitly whether extra costs, such as travel costs, are included in your price.

7. Divide up your activities

Divide the assignment into different activities, instead of just including 1 overall description with 1 total amount. This gives your client insight into the price per activity. It gives them the opportunity to choose what activities they do and do not want you to carry out. This will take you a little more time, but increases the chance that you can carry out (part of) the assignment.

8. Surprise your client

Making a quotation is just like applying for a job: you can write a standard letter, but you can also try to surprise. Add something extra to your quotation, such as:

  • an additional product;
  • a custom service;
  • adjusted payment terms that respond to your client’s situation;
  • a rental or lease construction, if the purchase of your product or service is too expensive for your client.

9. Initiate contact

Have you submitted your quotation, but not yet received any feedback? Initiate contact with your client. This shows that you are genuinely interested and that you want to be taken seriously. You can turn promises like 'you will hear from us' into meaningful interaction with your potential customer.

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