Quotes That Book Clients

When writing quotes or proposals for our potential clients, it’s easy to forget the reason why we actually write them. We often get carried away with what we do and how much it costs. And then we forget, that actually, we have just been sent a cry for help!

Come to the rescue

Your potential customer is in a pickle and they need your help to solve their problem. There is a reason people have contacted you. Maybe they need a dog walker because their previous one quit, or their work hours changed. Or maybe they need a custom birthday cake made for a themed party. Or perhaps they need a website designed to support their business and they have no time to do it themselves.

Whatever the reason for the contact, don’t think this is just your everyday problem. This problem is as unique as your customer and it’s now up to you to come to the rescue! When you think about your quote requests in this way, its much easier to focus on problem solving rather than numbers.

They know who you are!

Whatever the problem, you can be sure your new client has done their research. So, don’t pad out your proposal with information about you and your company. They don’t care that the company was founded in 1906 by your late grandad, they care about their own kids birthday party.

Also, keep if brief! You are not pitching gazillion pound deals to the National Lottery, it’s just passing on information from one business to a potential client. A couple of paragraphs will do, plus the numbers. I recently had a 17 page brochure sent to me in lieu of a quote. It had half a page set aside for the numbers and the other 16.5 pages were all about the company and how awesome they are. Suffice it to say, it found it’s way into the “nope” folder!

If someone has sent you a query, you can be sure they know who you are. Your marketing has brought them to you because it was effective enough to convince them that you might be able to solve their problem. They have established a need, found your company, stalked you for a bit, they like what they see, and now they have requested a quote from you.

Be a detective

This is your opportunity to speak directly to them and their individual needs. Hopefully they’ve given you some indication of the problems they are having and what it means to them to get your help. If they did they might have said things like…

“I need a dog walker that is available three times a week, from this Monday, to come to my house in Dundee. Marlo is a big dog and can be strong on the lead, his last dog walker quit and my friend said you could help. He’s good with other dogs though.”

If they have given you lots of information, they are getting close to being ready to make a decision. Start by reading and understanding what they have told you. The more specific they are about their needs, the greater the chance they have already sought help from others and have had no luck. They have stumbled already, and they don’t want to waste their time going through a process only to find you can’t help them at the end of it.

Note the pain points in the message. In this case, the dog walker has quit, they also acknowledge that the size of the dog might be a problem, and the time scale. Also note the recommendation!

When it comes to this quote, be empathetic, show you’ve understood the problem, and talk about how you’ll fix it for them. Reassure them you can help them, and tell them not to worry. Let them feel your confidence. Things like “don’t worry, I can fix that for you” is much better than, “I’m sure we can handle that.”

Get to the numbers

Now you are ready to start talking about the nitty gritty. If there is a package they need, tell them about it and how much it will cost. Be proud of your prices. You have shown that you can solve their problem, so why shouldn’t you charge them a fair price for your awesomness.

If you offer a bulk discount, or charity prices, or any other kind of reduction make sure to list the full price on your quote. You can apply the discount on a separate line, but definitely don’t just apply any discounts and only give a final figure. This way, your client can see how much value you are offering and why. Later on, if the reason for the discount stops, then you can easily revert to full price. So many times, I’ve heard freelancers give discounts for block booking but they never told the client why. Then, when the client stopped block booking, they felt they couldn’t change their prices!

Now, tell them how to proceed. So many people forget to tell their customers what to do next. Is there a deposit, or payment on invoice? Do you want them to book online, or some other way? If so, tell them how. If they must call you on the phone, tell them your number, if they need to speak to Sandra, put them in touch, it’s simple, but so often missed out.

You’re nearly there! But, don’t drop the bat yet, so many businesses talk themselves out of a deal at the last minute by adding things like “hurry, only ??? spaces left” . Your client should be happy you can solve their problem and that will drive them to buy, they don’t need a pushy sales pitch to sour the conversation. But, do include info such as when the quote expires, or any other conditions of the quote.

And finally, finish with a question that gives them a reason to reply. Don’t say, “if you’ve got a question then get in touch”. This is a closed statement. Instead, encourage the conversation further with a question.

Not ready to buy?

If the email is short, they might not have fully established their needs yet and might not be ready to buy from you. In this case, it will be unlikely they will be looking to commit to your product or service.

For example, when you get an email that simply says “I need a cake, how much?” That person is probably not ready to buy. They have had an idea that they are exploring and are just looking for more information. Rather than focus on the prices, respond to them to request more information and ask them about their project. In this case, you just need to continue the conversation long enough for them to finalise their plans. At this stage, if you are still in their scope, you will likely book the client. This takes patience, and many businesses resent these customers as time wasters and “tyre kickers”. But I think this is a mistake, some of my best ever clients came to me early, but because I gave them the time and helped them refine their ideas, I was their only choice.


Learn how to write killer quotes!

Book a place on our FREE online workshop this January, where we’ll be going into much more detail and talking about how to put this all into practice. The workshops are kept small so we can work together and have a meaningful discussion using your real life examples.