How to Prepare Quotes for Clients that Get Accepted

monkey holding a gun

Let me set the scene for you. January 2009, sitting in front of a boardroom of 50-something year old men. I was brought in to speak about how to get their website more traffic for their high end political consulting firm.

These guys were making a decision between buying a 50 thousand dollar interactive green screen monitor to do ‘podcasts’ on statistical relationships between US and Canadian sociopolitical environments or hiring my team for three months to build their online presence.

After 2 presentations, multiple phone calls and a full board meeting, they went with the TV…

This is not a “How to”, as I’m not an expert. I used consulting to fund my crazy entrepreneurial projects down the years so it wasn’t my core business.

This post will be more of a basic set of guidelines to navigate the do’s and don’ts of how to put together a quote and get it accepted.

1. Don’t tell people you can do something unless you can do it

This is a big one and the mistake that most entrepreneurs make.

Most consultants worry first about getting the contract and then worry about providing the deliverable. This may get you a few contracts but long term it won’t make anyone happy and your first few clients are crucial towards you getting your next job.

So, what do you do if you don’t have any experience in the field? Go get some!

I would never tell a client I could do something without having done it myself. The vast majority of the time this was something that I did in my business or did for a friend pro bono.

This gives you the added bonus of having real world case studies which I talk about later.

2. Only take on high end clients

Don’t waste your time on clients that can’t afford you.

Poor clients usually follow up more, bitch about minutia, eat up your time (which you could spend finding more clients), and generally are more difficult to handle than high end companies.

Therefore, don’t work with them.

Instead, target companies that would see your costs as inconsequential to their bottom line. They’re not only going to be able to pay you on time but they’re usually a much easier sell and the clients get your more legitimacy in your industry.

3. Presentation is almost everything

Presenting your pitch to clients should be the most proficient and refined practice in your consultant toolbox. Every question should be answered immediately, succinctly and most importantly with supporting evidence.

The easiest way I would close clients while I was doing site development would be to go through my case studies, showing them what I did for those clients and challenging them to find somebody who could match my successes.

Even if you haven’t worked for others yet, use your own examples as showing people real numbers is the most persuasive way to close deals.

4. Putting together a quote

So if you’ve gotten to the point in which you’re ready to present a formalized quote the presentation is crucial.

One application I’ve been liking quite a bit is quoteroller.com which allows you to instantly put together quick amazing looking quotes and also allows the client to accept the quote right there. One of the best examples of a great quote can be found on their proposal automation template page.

In essence, you need to present a quote that first clearly defines the deliverables and when they will be achieved, provides adequate margins (I usually look at my costs and then add 60% on top of that), and gives the client examples of successful projects you’ve completed in the past.

In Conclusion

Selling somebody doesn’t need to be complicated. Make sure you can do the job, show how you’re the best and for god sakes charge the proper amount.

Don’t try to compete with other bids, figure out what you need to complete the project and then add your margin.

end of post

Liam McIvor Martin

Liam Martin is a co-founder of Time Doctor—a time tracking and productivity monitoring software designed for tracking hours and productivity of remote teams.

12 Comments

  • anum says:

    hi i am anum and i am opening my graphic sofware house. i need some qoutation that how can i send email to the client? how can i present my work, charges, and how can i offer to new client that i am providing logo busines card designing services.

  • jenaro williams says:

    just trying the business just might need a way to get clients or traffic a lot more

  • David says:

    I am in dire need of a quoting template or perhaps a clear sample of how a good business quatations should look like.

  • Hey…is that Caesar from Rising of the Apes?

  • Jut Rmah says:

    Not sure if this quote was ever up before in history, but this quote was stuck in my head since the day I set my foot on the “yellow foot print” in Paris’s Island.

    “Accept the bad, prepare for the worst, and strive for better.”

  • krishna says:

    hi,
    sir/madam,
    this is krishna from sonforce pvt.ltd sir recently i have opened one service industry regarding provision of security security services i want to one nice quotation for my industry pls send me one sample estimated copy to my mail(sonforce@gmail.com)it should contain wit terms and conditionds……….tanx sir

  • Liam McIvor Martin says:

    @ Matt completely agree with you. But you shouldn’t tell the client that you can do everything yourself unless you can. You should be up front and tell the client that you’ll be drawing on outside consultants for a piece of the project.

  • Matthew says:

    Good article, sound advice. However I disagree with the first point. While I don’t think you should ever lie to a client you may be able to team up with someone and achieve all the clients needs. Building a good “go to” talent pool is about as important as advancing your own personal skills.

  • Jim McDonough says:

    Sage advice. Your case study scenario reminds me of a key piece of advice from the the book “The Trusted Advisor”, i.e. the seller who succeeds has to convince the client what it would “feel like” to be in a great relationship together – before they were actually in one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *