Chances are, at some point your customer will ask you to write down your offer, before committing to buy from you. The quote is the document you produce to describe what you will deliver at what cost, under which terms, and how you want to get paid. The goal is to get your customer to accept your quote, but that is not always easy.
The quote is a vital document in the sales process. Many times, it either replaces, or is the precursor to a contract. Even when it is not accepted, it can form the basis of further negotiations: You can identify what parts of the offer are acceptable to both parties, and what parts need to change before the customer can proceed to the next stage: placing an order.
Quotes take time to write, and you may need to revise them many times during your negotiations. They contain mathematical calculations for prices, discounts, and taxes, and you have to make sure no mistakes are introduced during those revisions.
A typical quote has the following content:
- Letterhead: A unique design that reflects the identity of your business. After all, you want your quote to stand out.
- Customer: The quote must specify the prospective buyer’s name and address. Remember that the quote describes your commitment, and you want to specify who you are giving that commitment to.
- Contact: You must send your quote to a specific contact, and make sure that person’s name is on the quote, to make sure it ends up in the right hands.
- Subject: It is a good idea to briefly describe the contents of the quote in a subject line. The customer may be dealing with dozens of different vendors, and may be receiving multiple quotes for different items from each vendor. Make it easy to understand what this quote is about.
- Date: Your quote is not an open-ended commitment. You must always date your quotes, and make sure the terms state how long they will remain valid.
- Intro Text: This is where you introduce your company, outline your quote, and why they should buy from you.
- Pricing Table: This is a list of every product, along with unit prices, discounts, totals, and sometimes the applicable taxes.
- Closing Text: This section is typically reserved for the terms of conditions like payments, delivery times, etc.
- Signature: Add your name and email, so the customer knows how to get back to you to discuss your quote.
Writing A New Quote
Follow these steps to write a quote:
- Although you can go to the Quotes tab from the main menu and click on the New Quote button to create a new quote, it is usually better to start from a deal. Select the deal, click on the Quotes tab under it, and use the New Quote button there. This will automatically link your quote with this deal, and the deal’s customer.
- Select a quote template. Check out the customization tutorial to learn about creating new quote templates.
- Fill in the details for the customer, and line items. Refer to the tutorial section on orders (next topic) to learn about this.
- Save. Your quote will be saved as a draft.
Stages of a Quote
The current stage of your quote is displayed under its name, along with a link to update it.
Your quote will go through several stages during the sales process:
Draft: Still Working on it
When you start writing a quote, it is in draft stage. Your quote is not finalized yet, so you can save it, think about it, come back and make some changes on it. If you want to see how it looks on paper, you can print it, but the word DRAFT will appear on it, to remind you that it is not finished yet.
Final: Ready to send
Once you think your quote is ready to be sent to the customer, you can change its stage to final. Once a quote is in this stage, it can be printed, downloaded, or directly emailed to the customer, but it can no longer be edited, because you want to preserve the information as it was sent to the customer.
Revision Requested: Changes needed
It is not uncommon for prospective buyers to request changes in the quotes you send them. When that happens, you can change the status of the quote to revision requested. Quotes in this stage are ones waiting for your attention.
When in this stage, a Revise This button will be displayed on the quote page. You can use this button to create a copy of this quote (a revision) with the same content but in draft stage. You can work on that draft, and finalize it without modifying the original quote.
Rejected, Abandoned, Withdrawn
If the customer decided not to buy from you, you must mark your quote as rejected. If the customer did not make a decision in a reasonable amount of time, and you decided not to pursue this sale any further, mark it as abandoned. If for some reason you changed your mind and decided not to make this sale, even though the customer did not reject the quote, mark it as withdrawn.
These distinctions can be important when evaluating the outcomes of your quotes.
If the customer accepted your quote, congratulations! Mark it as such.
Tracking and Follow-up:
You probably know that follow-up is the most crucial part of closing a sale. It is not enough to send a great quote. Chances are, your competitors have sent decent quotes too. Your customer may have some concerns, so it is in your interest to follow-up and address them as soon as possible. The longer you take to react, the more time the customer will have to look at other alternatives.
But when is the best time to call? If you call too early, you will get the standard “I haven’t had time to read it yet” response. If you call too late, well, it will be too late.
Here is a great tool that will make this easier for you:
If you use the email button on the quote page to send it, you will get a notification when the recipient opens the email.
When you receive the notification, you will know that it has been received and opened. Give the customer some time to review it and then make the follow-up call.
If you do not receive the notification in a reasonable amount of time, the customer’s privacy settings may be preventing TeamGram from detecting the read event, or it may be lost in a crowded inbox. Either way, it is a good idea to call and check.
When your quote is accepted, you are ready to enter the customer’s order.
Accepted quotes have a Convert to order button that quickly creates a new order with the same information contained in the accepted version of the quote. The order form opens in editable mode, so you can still make last minute changes before saving it.
In this section, we learned how to write quotes, update, send and track them, and finally convert accepted quotes to orders. Let’s learn some more about orders now.
Next Topic: Managing Customer Orders