Quote or Early Invoice?

I just saw a document presented to someone in the hope of gaining an order. It was one single sheet of paper and featured, rather prominently, a figure in the region of $75,000.

It included payment terms, bank details for electronic funds transfer, and seven ‘product lines’, none with accompanying individual amounts but which when aggregated, amounted to the aforementioned total.

For all the world, it looked like an invoice, plain and simple.

The recipient was baffled. To the point of annoyance. There was neither breakdown nor explanation. Their feeling was one of bewilderment as to what they were truly due to get for their outlay.

This recalled one of the first elements of training I ever received as a cubrep; Never let your quote look like an invoice.

There’s all sorts of intelligent tactics you can deploy. For instance, I usually use the word ‘investment’ in any heading that trumpets the arrival of figures.

A popular technique I utilise provides for different options. This is always a solution sale winner and whilst I know how buying-behaviour psychologists differ on whether you should propose a pair or trio of options for optimum influence, I’ve found simply that the key is to make sure you do at least put forward more than one.

It’s also worthwhile separating out costs along CapEx and OpEx lines. They often come out of different budgets in my world, so why muddy the waters and make the overall tot-up look bigger than it needs?

The bottom-line is that if your quote looks like a draft invoice, you’re missing several opportunities to further your cause.

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