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Tip of the Week: The Art of Quoting in WorkflowMax


Creating a quote for services is generally reliant on an individual - often the business owner - whose experience in positioning and pitching their services or products has been refined over time. It requires carefully considering the level of services and resources needed for a job - while still ensuring a certain margin - then presenting that proposal in a way that convinces a potential client that they should click ‘accept’!

Through my work, I have come across a wide range of industries with businesses who prepare quotes in a variety of ways - the most common tools for doing so being spreadsheets and Word documents. These are great when you first start out and want to personalise each quote. However, as your business grows, this method becomes time consuming, especially when there is complexity in each of the tasks, and phases that need to be considered.

What you need is a framework that allows repeatability and accuracy that takes the guesswork out of preparing quotes, so that you can spend less time preparing quotes and more time closing them.

Here are 6 tips for using WorkflowMax to perfect your art of quoting:

1. Break down your services

Defining your services and costs into smaller parts will allow you to easily build quotes with tailored offerings.

For example, if you are a tradesperson with a mix of private and commercial clients, you may need to tack on rubbish removal and tip fees for a private client onto your quote costings, whereas you may not need to factor this in for a commercial site with bins provided.

To manage this, set up varying template options for each phase of your services in WorkflowMax. These can be further refined for particular jobs that can also easily be added as templates for future use.

2. Consider value-based pricing

Using time and costs to work out the value of a service is a great starting point, but don't be bound by it. For instance, you may work in an industry that will offer an hourly rate, but if a client is requesting same-day service when availability of service providers is scarce, it may be reasonable to mark this up.

Use the fixed pricing mode in WorkflowMax to then overwrite the price to meet the client's perceived value. This retains the internal costs and allowances for time to show an accurate report of job profitability and margin.

3. Offer up-sells

The customer is always right, and they are usually conscious of costs, so always provide a quote that sticks with their requests. However, by also including options and extras, you may get them thinking about additional services or alert them to more affordable alternatives, while providing a valuable up-sell for you. Your options may also be an opportunity to highlight some of the exclusions of your service in order to stay within their budget.

WorkflowMax allows you to add optional extras that are excluded from the quoted price but that can easily be added as a variation to your quote upon acceptance - just follow the instructions here.

4. Review your quotes

Have a plan to review your quotes and pricing every so often in line with seasonality or change in trends. For example, does the wording need to change when you are selling heating and installation in the summer to when you are heading into the colder seasons?

You can store many templates within WorkflowMax, but may want to rotate quotes in your printing options by changing its active status for print selection in the settings of the quote template. See steps for deactivating or reactivating a custom template here.

5. Track your emails

Use email tracking tools to see when a client has opened your email and has read your proposal. Some suggested tools are Sidekick, Streak or ContactMonkey, depending on your preferred email program and requirements.

As you send your quote via a PDF attachment you can then time your follow up phone call after leads have opened and reviewed your quote to then answer any questions that they may have - or to close the deal!

6. Encourage action

While you make every effort to offer accurate and timely quotes, have a look at how many days you have set before the quoted offer should expire. You will be the best judge of what’s reasonable for your industry, but experiment with reducing the quote expiry time and monitoring responses. Shorter expiry periods could give you an opportunity to call in sooner than your competitors to discuss the project with a client who may still be sitting on the fence, and can create a sense of urgency to accept your price.  

You can set a default number of days for quote expiry, but you can individualise this for each quote to see what works best, before changing the default. To change the default, navigate to Organisation settings under Invoice settings to change the Payment Terms for each new invoice.

There are plenty of other ways you can improve your quotes to help make them more attractive to your potential clients. I have had to stop myself from writing down every possible idea and thing that I have seen, so I will leave it up to you decide what will help you out the most, but I would be interested to hear - what are your tips for crafting a winning quote in WorkflowMax?

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Matthew Peng
Matthew was a former Product Specialist for Xero and Workflowmax. He is now the Managing Director for Business Continuum and directly consults with businesses and Advisors around Australia, to implement and refine the use of CRM and Workflow systems. Follow @MattPeng on twitter to read more about his interests in new technology, personal productivity, marketing and business trends.

Matthew Peng