The answer to this question is simple. A lot!
When you hand over a sales quote to a prospective customer, you are providing much more than just a list of products or services and some commercial terms.
A sales quotation also tells a story about who you are as a company. And it can be as unforgiving as a 60 watt bulb over the bathroom mirror.
Whether you like it or not, your customer will scrutinise your sales quote and form an opinion about you. Does this supplier truly understand my business? Do they get our business goals and what we are trying to achieve with this investment? Will this company be easy to do business with? Are they responsive? Are they reliable? Can they deliver? You get the picture.
A good sale quote will help your customer make a decision. And if you are the company offering the best help in making that decision, then you are also on the right track to earning the spot as trusted advisor and ultimately, making that coveted sale.
So how do we help a prospect to make the all-important buying decision?
Competition in your industry is most probably fierce. And your prospect knows it. You need to stand out from the crowd and offer something above and beyond. At the same time, margins are under pressure and you need to carefully watch how much you invest in each sales opportunity. In this day and age, product quality is not negotiable. And frankly, neither is the quality of sales support. A sales quote that is both accurate and easy to understand should be the minimum.
Despite this, many companies are still sending out sales quotes that read more like spare parts lists than professional, customer-focused commercial documents. These quotations often go through many iterations before they are ready. Sales reps and technical staff become tied up in back-and-forth discussions about what is and isn’t possible to deliver and what a realistic timeline and price should be… all the while causing delays and increasing concerns in the customer’s mind.
What do we expect will happen when a below-par quote is passed to the CFO for review? Many of his/her questions will probably go unanswered – at best leaving them a bit frustrated and with some doubt about the proposal, at worst leading them to dismiss the company as “yet another vendor who doesn’t get it”.
This is where a professional sales quote comes into the picture.
The smart organisation will look at the quotation process as a potential for competitive edge.
A quote needs to speak to a number of different people in the organisation. It should be not just accurate, but optimal, and it should answer the questions the customer is truly concerned with.
Any company that can leave an optimised, relevant sales quotation behind after a sales meeting, including up-to-date commercial terms, technical drawings and other supporting documentation has a huge advantage. It speaks volumes about who you are – both as a supplier and a future partner.
Clarity and understanding is key to building trust.
If your sales team can do this, then you’ll be well on your way to convincing the prospect that you are the right partner for them. You will have removed any concerns about your understanding of their business situation. You’ll also have demonstrated that you are easy to do business with. After all, you have almost instantly grasped their requirements and translated it into an optimized solution, not leaving any information gaps.
So…time to hold up the mirror. What do your sales quotations say about your company?
Find out how Yaskawa transformed its quotation process – download the story >>