When a customer asks you to raise a quote you are given a great opportunity to win business. If the customer does what most of us will do in such a situation, they will ask for a couple of quotes, looking for the deal that best is going to suit their needs as well as meet or beat the price point they have budgeted on.
If you look at every quote as an opportunity to win business, instead of some boring paper work, your chances of winning will greatly increase. At SpeedInvoice we have tried to take the paperwork out of creating a quote, and give you the right quote app so that you can focus on bringing more business in by using our quotes software.
For you to win the business you need to understand what the customer is looking for as well as getting your price right. Those two important factors alone will however not dictate the customer’s decision. In particular if it is the first time you deal with the customer, how quickly and professionally you raise the quote will also affect your chances of winning the business.
If you have familiarised yourself with the psychology of buying decisions, you will know that there are many things that will affect the outcome. If you look at yourself I think you will recognise that many important buying decisions are taken on a vague feeling of “this feels like the right choice”, instead of a matrix of features and prices analysed and scored. Many decisions are based on more intangible qualities such as quality, trustworthiness and perceived service levels.
If we look at an example where a customer asks an arborist for a quote to fell a tree, we might think that the outcome is going to be pretty much the same regardless of who gets the job - the tree will be removed. In the mind of the customer there might be other issues considered, such as how do I make sure nothing goes wrong or if something goes wrong will I be protected? I would suggest to an arborist that a good way to address those questions, even if they aren’t being asked by the customer, is to attach a reference document outlining a number of similar jobs done, a description of how the tree might be cut into smaller sections to minimize risk as well as a certificate of currency on your professional liabilities insurance. This will show the customer that you know what you are doing, and that in the unlikely event something does go wrong you have made sure you are covered.
By proactively getting yourself to a point where you have given all the information needed by the client and handled yourself professionally in the process, you will have the opportunity to ask the customer to give you the order. By delivering a professional quote quickly you improve your chances of winning the business, instead of going home to draft a quote that might be delivered a few days or a week later. If you end up spending too much time with your quote creation, other suppliers might have engaged with the customer in such a way that once your quote arrives, the deal has already been done. Many times jobs are won not on the best price, or what you might perceive as the best product, but by the person that outruns the competition.
So here is how we believe you should respond to a request for a quote:
At this point you have qualified the sales opportunity. If you have done well up to this point the customer recognises you as a professional with integrity and might feel more confident about your ability to do the job. Once the first three steps are out of the way you start the quote creation.
As you create quotes make sure you get all the basics right. Your quote should look professional and contain the following:
Other things to consider based on what the customer is looking for would be:
So with this out of the way, lets look at how SpeedInvoice meets the requirement of a great quotes software solution.
With SpeedInvoice you can quickly generate a professional quote, with functionality that will help you win business and keep you on top of what you need to know. SpeedInvoice has all of your customer records accessible as well as your items. This will allow you to work quickly when you are creating a new quote. Let’s have a quick look at what you can do:
You can do two different types of quotes in SpeedInvoice. The first one is where you build the quote by adding items and quantities to the quote, and the sum of those items will amount to the cost of the quote. The second one is a fixed price quote, where you set a price independent of the items and quantities that you use on your quote.
Lets have a look at the difference between a fixed price quote and normal quote. When creating a fixed price quote you set the cost without any regard to the items or quantities used on the quote. You can use as many items as you wish on a fixed price quote, or none at all for that matter; the price will be dictated by the amount you have entered as your fixed price. If you don’t enter a fixed price on your quote the amount will be the sum of each line on the quote. As you are building your quote you will have full control of the prices of the items as well as any discount you may wish to extend to your customer. SpeedInvoice will default to the price per item and apply any customer discount as stated in the customer record, but you can quickly change these if you wish. If you need to add an item to a quote that you currently don’t have in SpeedInvoice you can do that on the fly.
If you are using SpeedInvoice you never need to make a choice between getting an online quote software or a quote app. The online quote software will allow you to work from your browser in your computer and has the benefit of more easily allowing you to write longer texts as well as printing your quote if you wish. A quote app has the upside of being where you are, even if you are out on site. As a quote app lets you do work from an iPhone or Android phone, or a an iPad or a tablet, you can bring it with you as you are out quoting or work. The benefits are that you can complete the work on a quote directly even if you are out of the office and as such can respond much more quickly to a request for a quote. If you are using SpeedInvoice you never need to make a choice between getting an online quote software or a quote app as SpeedInvoice is a quote app with an integrated cloud component. So if you are on site you can work through you iPhone or Android phone, or your iPad or Android tablet, and if you are sitting in front of your computer the cloud service might be the way to go for you. Either way you do not have to let go of one way in order to get access to the other, you do what is most practical every time.
As you are working in SpeedInvoice you will notice that the quote template we are working with is quite dynamic. As you are moving through the quote creation the template will adapt to your information. As an example, if you are using discounts on your quote those discounts will be presented in a separate column, but if you are not using discounts there will be no column for discounts presented. Similarly if you are creating a fixed price invoice without specifying the various items and quantities, those columns will not be presented at all.
The quote template in SpeedInvoice will also carry your logo (if you have uploaded it in our cloud solution), your address and payment information as well as any other information you have set up. The SpeedInvoice quote template is design to look professional. If you at any point when you are doing quote creation want to check on the final result you just press preview, and you will be presented with the same PDF as will be sent to the customer.
Needless to say there are good and bad ways to make your quote stand out. Lets skip all the bad ways it can stand out and look at how it can help you win more business.
By including a picture of what you are selling on the quote you give your potential customer an opportunity to appreciate your product better, or possibly to help them choose between a couple of options. You can also use the photo function to document site conditions prior to commencing work, or to add a couple of photos to the invoice once you have completed the work you quoted.
You also have the option to automatically or manually add other documents as attachments to the email when the quote is sent. You have the opportunity to add anything from your standard terms & conditions, drawings, technical information or a product PDF, a project plan, a certificate of currency of your professional indemnity insurance or a reference document outlining similar work you have completed. The list of valuable documentation goes on, so you need to consider what you can add to your quote to put your business in the best possible position to win the job you have quoted for.
There are two ways to add an attachment when you work with quote generation. One way is to add standardized attachment to a quote (although you can delete it when you work with the quote), the other way is to add an individual document to a quote. To add a document as an attachment to a quote you go to the cloud service of SpeedInvoice. If you wish to add standardized documents you go to settings, if you wish to add an individual document to a specific quote you open the quote in the cloud software and press the edit symbol on the quote (the pen) and then press attach images/files.
SpeedInvoice has two components to it, the cloud software that you can use when working from a browser on a computer and the app. The app is available in either iOS or Android. As we are giving you an overview of the software we will talk about the functionality and how it works from a smartphone/tablet perspective unless we make specific mention of the cloud software.
When you work in SpeedInvoice quote software you are moving through a hierarchy of screens. It all starts in the menu screen where your five menu items for the main task quotes, invoices, customers, items and sales unit. Once you have entered your items, customers and sales unit you will mainly work with the menus quotes and invoices. Under the quote menu you will work with both quote creation and quote management.
As you tap on quotes you are given an overview of your quotes where you have the newest quote at the top of the list. You will have a screen that displays quotes created in the last 180 days (older quotes are only available through the cloud service). If you tap one of those quotes you will open a screen where the details of that quote are displayed and you can work with that quote. If you wish to create a new quote you tap “Add” in Android or the “+” in iOS, and you will be taken to a screen where you pick your customer (or add a new customer). If you chose to work with an existing quote or to create a new quote you are taken to the same screen in SpeedInvoice quote software. It is on this screen that you decide what actions you want to take with regards to this quote. You can add additional items, adjust prices or quantities, update the customer information or attach photos. You can also preview the quote or send an email with the quote attached from this screen. When you do an action you are taken to a new screen, but as you complete each task you are taken back to the quote overview. If you wish to return to the previous screen without updating any information you tap Done.
When quoting items SpeedInvoice can quote prices including or excluding GST, it depends on how you set the system up. If you need to change how GST is calculated you can do that in Company Settings under the menu “Prices and amounts are GST inclusive”. It is in this same menu that you also can change a number of other settings in SpeedInvoice. Here you have control over what default text will be suggested when you are sending an email with a quote, how many days a quote is valid for, the standardised number of days a quote is valid for and a number of other things. It is from the settings menu you control some aspects of the quote software.
When creating a new quote this is what you generally do:
If you update the customer information on a quote you will be asked if you want to update the customer record as well, or if the new information only should affect the current quote. This gives you the opportunity to maintain your customer record when you are doing a new quote or choose to register a new contact person or a new address for a quote, without changing the main customer record.
When adding items to your quote you normally pick the items you want and pick the quantity of that item, adjust the price and the discount if necessary, add an explanatory text if need be and tap save. If you wish to edit an item prior to adding it to the quote you can do so by using long press. You can also add a new item by tapping add. Please remember to save your changes by tapping save.
If you wish, you have the opportunity to add photos to the quote. You can add photos either from your album or by taking new ones. The photos are saved with the quote and can be viewed by any of your company’s staff or if you wish you can share them with your customer. If you wish to add a document to a quote you need to do this in the cloud software.
You can at any time during the quote creation look at how the quote will present to the customer by tapping preview. Once you are satisfied the quote is correct you can email it to the customer from the app.
There are a few additional actions you can do when working with a quote. You can call the phone numbers in the customer record or show the address on a map, approximate the address for your current location, close the quote for further changes or delete the quote.
Once you have received acceptance on a quote from a customer and have delivered the work or the goods you can convert a quote to an invoice by selecting the quote and choosing "Create Invoice" from the overflow menu. You can edit the information, quantities and costs of the quote/invoice prior to sending it to the customer.