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Nine common mistakes with quotes


How many businesses do you miss because of bad quotes?

You wouldn't believe the number of business owners I meet that are incredibly talented at their jobs, but when it comes to writing and designing selling quotes, they just miss the target (and job opportunities) over and over again.

What about you? Do you inexplicably lose jobs that seemed so promising? In such cases, it may depend on how you make your quotations and this is what we'll talk about today.

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9 common mistakes with quotes

1. You don't have enough information to make the quotation effectively

Many consultants are too sloppy when they gather information about what the customer wants. They're in such a hurry that they immediately throw themselves at the task and completely isolate themselves instead of bringing the customer into the process. If you let the customers join you in every aspect of the task - from what they want to accomplish in detail to how it can best be done, money issues and timing - you not only get the customer's real thoughts, but you also lock the customer to your company through your commitment and thereby disqualify your competitors who may have made less careful preparation.

2. You are too self-centered

Many quotes begins with vendors just talking about how good they are. Customers want to know how good you are, but above all they want to understand why it's good for them to hire you. They want to know that you understand their problems. They want to know that you are the right person to solve it.

3. You forget to summarize the deal
Many decision makers only look at two things - the summary and the price - and yet there are very few companies that have a summary in their quotations. Anyone who makes decisions often rely on just the summary to quickly determine if the person making the quotation has understood the problem. If the summary is good, they can begin to study the quotation in detail. If it's bad, the quotation goes straight into the bin.

4. You talk too much about your tools
Your customers care about the results, not about the tools, methods and approaches you can use to achieve the results. If the core of your quotes is about your methods, you're merely setting a trap for yourself instead of reaching forward. Think about it: If you hire someone to repair a radiator, you expect that whoever comes to do the job already has all the tools to do it. Your tools are of course important to have, but put it at the end of the quotation, not in the beginning.

5. You write too much
Many studies show that customers would rather read a short personal quote before having to settle into a tome with graphics and standardized phrases. Keep your quote as short as possible to provide satisfactory answers to what you talked about in #1.

6. You use the same standard layout in the presentation of yourself
Every opportunity is different in many ways, simply because the customers are different. Therefore, you must take your time to write something about yourself or your company in every quote. You may not need to change much - maybe just add or pinpoint something special - to get the quotation less standardized. This is usually quickly done and it's good because you show the customer that you have thought it all through and how your experience matches exactly what they are looking for.

7. Your quote has too much corporate bullshit

It's a little bit funny is that the term “corporate bullshit ”that symbolizes all vacuous buzzword in business language, itself has become a term of corporate bullshit because you can dismiss all that corporate bullshit if you want to be a little trendy. But to the point – it's useless to add the buzzword of the month to the quotes because it doesn't reveal anything concrete. Instead it conceals an uncertainty of those using them. Your customers don't want to hear about ”synergy” or to ”be at the forefront”, they want to hear exactly what you can do for them.

8. Your quotation contains typos or different screw-ups
I have been amazed by quotes with typos, but even more quotes that contain too much “cut and paste” from brochures, web content and other texts that companies think sounds slick, but doesn't really mean anything for the customer. It seems that the purpose is to appear smart and rich, but instead the sender ends up looking stupid and unclear. Look through your quote material sometimes. There are good things that you can use as a foundation for the quote, but each offer must be considered as a unique document.

9. You send it too late
If you drag on before sending out the quote, submit it late or even call the customer to ask for more time, you just ruin your chances of getting the job done quickly.


Well, how did it go? Please print this newsletter, so you can compare the tips more closely with the quotes that you posted earlier and perhaps strengthen the new ones that you are going to write today.





About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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